Meet Esther Mahlangu, Ndebele Artist

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Esther Mahlangu

Esther Mahlangu is an 81 year old Ndebele artist who collaborates with major brands. As CNN says, there aren’t many people like Esther Mahlangu.

Collaborating with BMW would be a dream for any designer, but for the 81 year old South African Ndebele artist it’s all in a days work.

Twenty five years ago, Mahlangu created an iconic BMW Art car, and now she’s teamed up with the German car giants again for a new project.
The BMW Individual 7 Series decorated with Mahlangu’s work was unveiled at this year’s Frieze Fair in London with the car going up for auction at the same event. Her painted artworks for BMW Number 12 car is being exhibited at the British Museum as part of ‘South Africa: the art of a nation’.

Mahlangu’s unique artwork is rooted in Ndebele tradition, where women in the Ndebele tribe decorate the walls of houses in vibrant patterns and colors. These striking designs symbolize significant events and serve as a means of communication within the community.

Of her second collaboration with BMW, Mahlangu said in a statement: “The patterns I have used on the BMW parts marry tradition and to the essence of BMW. When BMW sent me the panels to paint I could see the design in my head and I just wanted to get started … My heart was full of joy when BMW asked me to paint for them again.”

BMW isn’t the only prestigious brand to have featured Mahlangu’s striking artwork. She has unveiled a partnership with Belvedere, teaming up with the beverage company for their RED campaign, in the fight against AIDS. She teamed up with Swedish sneaker brand Eytys to create a special pair of sneakers embroidered with her art work. Her paint work has even been featured on the tails of British Airways planes.

Courtesy of CNN. Check out the full story here

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