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'South Africa the art of a nation' exhibition in London

United Kingdom

Car paintings by South African artist Esther Mahlangu which combine tradition and history with contemporary art and politics, will be on display from October 27 to February 26 2017, in an exhibition in London titled “South Africa the art of a nation.”

Earlier in September Mahlangu, 81, teamed up with BMW to create magical artwork for the brand’s 7 series.

The artist is known for her bold large scale contemporary paintings which showcase the Ndebele heritage.

The relationship between Mahlangu and BMW started in 1991 when BMW invited Esther Mahlangu to make a work of art in their Art Car project. Her work, with its brightly coloured geometric shapes, draws on the traditional house-painting designs of Ndebele people in South Africa.

“At that time I was working at the Botshabelo Ndébélé museum and BMW asked me if I can paint for them. I said yes I could paint a car for them. When they said it is a new car, I said no problem, it is my job,” Mahlangu told reporters.

The relationship between Mahlangu and BMW started in 1991 when BMW invited Esther Mahlangu to produce work of art in their Art Car project.

Under apartheid the Ndebele tribe was forced to live in ethnically defined rural reserves – their designs are an expression of cultural identity and can be read as a form of protest against racial segregation and marginalisation.

During a recent interview the artist said “to paint is in my heart and in my blood.”

Mahlangu acquired painting skills from her mother and grandmother.

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