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Esther Mahlangu & BMW Mark 25th Anniversary of Their Iconic Collab With Another BMW Art Car Overhaul

The 81-year-old Ndebele visual artist decked out the interior wooden trim of a plush right-hand drive BMW 7 Series.

Marking the 25th anniversary since their last iconic collaboration, South African visual artist Esther Mahlangu and BMW teamed up again—and the result is just as magical.


In similar fashion as her overhaul of a BMW 525i Sedan, Mahlangu, who was the first woman to customize and sign a BMWArt Car, decked out the interior wooden panels of a right-hand drive BMW 7 Series with her signature style, characteristic of Ndebele art painted on the outside of homes to commemorate important celebrations.

BMW Individual Manufaktur facilitated the full manufacturing process, including the installation and sealing of the special white fine-wood trim that Mahlangu adorned.

Mahlangu says of the partnership:

To paint is in my heart and it’s in my blood. The way I paint was taught to me by my mother and my grandmother. The images and colours have changed and I have painted on many different surfaces and objects but I still love to paint. The patterns I have used on the BMW parts marry tradition 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! I start by painting the small ones first to get the feel of the surface and then it was easy as the design follows the lines of the panels. 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. My heart was full of joy when BMW asked me again to paint for them.

And the finished product has been well-received.

The 81-year-old’s masterpiece will be on display at this year’s Frieze Art Fair (October 5-9) at Regent’s Park in London, and is up for auction, which you can bid on here. Proceeds will benefit charity “The Art Room” that supports youth development.

If you’re in the UK, you can catch Mahlangu speak with Christopher Spring, curator at the British Museum, on how she combines her people's traditional art of painting with everyday objects.

To learn about the luxury vehicle’s specs before you bid, visit here.

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Photo: Courtesy of Saphir Niakadie

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There's been a tremendous amount of awe-inspiring art coming from the African continent lately. Photography is no exception. It is one of the most powerful tools used in changing the way in which the West perceives Africa and its diaspora and perhaps the reason why contemporary photography is thriving.

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