The Fabulous Work of Gogo Esther Mahlangu

By Drum Digital
09 September 2016

Esther Mahlangu's art has been put in the spotlight with her new campaigns: one for BMW the other for premium Vodka. DRUM looks at her recent and past achievements and a message for her by President Jacob Zuma

The work of artist Esther Nostokana Mahlangu has been put in the spotlight following her recent projects that have attracted the attention of the world.

It started out with a tweet by US musician John Legend announcing their partnership as brand ambassador for The Belvedere Red #MakeADifference campaign where her graphic and colourful Ndebele designs are featured on a limited edition bottle.

Image: Twitter Just when South Africans were celebrating this news, a few days later it was announced that she had painted the interior of a limited edition BMW 7 series. She first shot to fame 25 years ago when she painted a BMW 5-series in 1990, following in the footsteps of distinguished artists like Andy Warhol and Frank Stella. The world-famous artwork is permanently at a museum in Germany. Unlike others, the car  has not been driven on a road.

President Jacob Zuma is among the high-profile people who have congratulated her on her recent success

“We congratulate her most heartily on this achievement. We are immensely proud of the highly talented Mama Mahlangu”, he said.

Mahlangu has a long history of success as an artist and was the recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga in 2006, an award recognising her excellent contribution to the development of the indigenous Ndebele arts. Her other commercial projects include the painting the tails of British Airways planes in 1997 as well as the Fiat 500 for an exhibition called "Why Africa?" in 2007.

Her works are featured in collections in galleries all over the world including United States, Japan, Germany, France and Switzerland. Last year she teamed up with a Swedish sneaker brand called Eytys to design a limited edition sneaker.

She has 17 awards under her belt and is one of the most accomplished artists in South Africa, through it all she keeps it simple and stylish with her designs and remains true to her Ndebele roots which have brought great national pride.

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