South African artist Esther Mahlangu has taken her famous colorful, tribal Ndebele designs to the world stage on various occasions and has become respected around the world for it.
The streets of New York will now bear the mark of the artist although not by her hand. Splashes of bold colors and prints are part of a mural that came up on September 12 in New York City to honor Esther Mahlangu.
The mural is situated at the Citi bike station located between Franklin Street and West Broadway in Tribeca, Manhattan. A New York-based artist and educator, Imani Shanklin Roberts was responsible for the design in collaboration with Citi Bike and South African Tourism for Women’s Bike Month in September.
The now 81-year-old Esther Mahlangu is a distinguished artist whose work has also been commissioned by the British Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, and the Centre de la Villette in Paris, France.
It is good to know that people around the world love Esther Mahlangu almost as much as Africa does. Here are three times in her career that she went and made us proud.
Her Work With BMW
First in 1991 and then again 25 years later in 2016, Esther Mahlangu collaborated to create a unique BMW. On the second turn, she worked on a BMW 7 Series and created a BMW Art Car which was the first to be signed by a woman.
It was a unique automobile that marries craftmanship with Ndebele art and the Art Car was offered for silent auction and following the successful auction BMW made a charitable donation to The Art Room, a UK charity jointly chosen by Frieze and BMW.
Esther Mahlangu’s collaboration with BMW in 1991 was displayed at the exhibition ‘South Africa: the art of a nation’ at the British Museum from the 27th of October 2016 to the 27th of February 2017.
She Gave Us Great Sneakers
Footwear retailer and Swedish trainer company, Eytys, has also collaborated with Esther Mahlangu to create the trendy Doja Mahlangu Cloud suede sneaker, embroidered with the artist’s work and they are quite a beautiful sight.
She Fought Alongside John Legend Against HIV/AIDS
Esther Mahlangu paired up with popular U.S RnB star John Legend and the luxury vodka brand Belvedere in a campaign to battle against HIV/AIDS prevalence in Africa earlier this year.
The campaign which was called #MakeADierence saw Belvedere adding Mahlangu’s famous colorful, tribal Ndebele designs to the limited edition bottle. John Legend on his end added his signature on the front of the bottle and also provided the campaign with a new single titled ‘Love Me Now’.
Half of the proceeds from the #MakeADierence campaign were to be put in a global fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.