Painting the world with Ndebele art patterns

World-renowned Ndebele artist and educator Esther Mahlangu releases her second one-of-a-kind Ndebele-inspired design for BMW.

For many years, Ndebele people have been decorating their houses with different patterns and bright colours. The culture continues to be passed down through the generations by women taking care of their families and occupying themselves with traditional wall painting and beadwork. At 81 years old, artist Esther Mahlangu is a true product of a past generation. Taught the old patterns by her grandmother and mother, she debuts her second one-of-a-kind, Ndebele-inspired patterned car with BMW.

In 1991, Mahlangu was the first women to take part in the BMW Art car project, placing Ndebele art in the international spotlight when she was invited to paint the then new BMW 525i. The exceptional cross-cultural work of Mahlangu has made her see different parts of the world. Amongst her many achievements, she has also painted on the wall at a museum in Angoul France.

“My art has taken me all over the world and I have seen many places, I have painted many walls and objects and my work is in many museums but I am still Esther Mahlangu from Mpumalanga in South Africa” she said on Biz News Africa.

Continuing to spread her art and the symbols of her people, Mahlangu has now collaborated with BMW for the second time, painting the interior of a limited edition BMW 7 Series. The car is designed with a special white coloured fine-wood that has enabled Mahlangu to paint her unique patterns and brighten with colour.

The BMW 7 series will be shown to the public for the first time at the Frieze Art Fair from 5 to 9 October 2016. Unlike the first BMW car that she painted that has never been driven on the road and exists exclusively as a work of art. The 7 series will be auctioned off and the money accumulated will be donated to a good cause.