| Esther Mahlangu|
| Esther Mahlangu: Reacquiring|Esther Mahlangu Wikipedia
Esther Mahlangu (born 11 November 1935) is a South African artist from the Ndebele nation. She is known for her bold large-scale contemporary paintings that reference her Ndebele heritage.
Esther Nikwambi Mahlangu was born on 11 November 1935 in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa, and belongs to the South Ndebele people. Mahlangu began painting at 10 years of age, and was taught the skill of mural painting by her mother and grandmother, following a tradition of her native South Ndebele people for females to paint the exterior of houses. It is in this cultural tradition where Mahlangu began her artistic journey.
Mahlangu's art references patterns found in clothing and jewellery of the Ndebele people. The patterns she uses are typically very colourful and geometric. Her paintings are large in scale.
Mahlangu first gained international attention in 1989 at a European art exposition titled Magiciens de la terre (Magicians of the World). Later in 1991, she was commissioned by BMW to create an art car, as other BMW Art Car creators had done before (including Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Frank Stella). The car, a BMW 525i, was the first "African Art Car" and was painted with typical motifs of the Ndebele tribe. She was the first non-Western person and female to design one of these art cars. The car was later exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC in 1994. Between 1980 and 1991 she was a resident at the Botshabelo open-air museum, which presents Ndebele culture to visitors.
Her designs were also reproduced in 1997 on the tails of British Airways planes and more recently the same technique was used by the artist to paint on the new Fiat 500 on the occasion of the exhibition "Why Africa?" (2007, Turin).
Mahlangu is one of the African artists whose art is often exhibited internationally. Her works are in major private collections including that of The Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) of Jean Pigozzi and in many Western museums. Despite being an internationally recognized artist, Esther Mahalangu lives in her village in close contact with her culture.
Mahlangu follows a local tradition through which this particular type of painting technique is handed down in the family, communicated, learned and transmitted only by women (in the past). These paintings are closely connected with the ancient tradition of decorating the houses on the occasion of the rite of passage for boys. Between 18 and 20 years of age, the youth of the tribe go to "a school of circumcision", the ritual that confirm their passage to adulthood. To celebrate this event the women completely repaint the inside and the outside of their houses with a preparation of cow dung and natural pigments. Brightly coloured acrylic paints are also applied in designs outlined by black lines. Although seemingly simple, the geometric abstraction that is revealed by these paintings is underscored by the constant repetition and symmetry of such simple shapes that make the whole work quite complex.
The art of Esther Mahlangu highlights the tension between local and global, between the anchor and detachment. Despite continuing to use the same "artistic vocabulary" closely tied to her traditions, Mahlangu has applied the designs to various objects including canvas, sculpture, ceramics, automobiles and airplanes. She has also collaborated with various brands like BMW, Fiat, EYTYS, Melissa's, Beleverde and the British Museum.
Esther Mahlangu's 1991 BMW Artcar will be on view at the British Museum as part of 'South Africa: the art of a nation', from 27 October 2016 - 27 February 2017. The new BMW Individual 7 series with unique internal wooden trims painted by her was exhibited at Frieze Art Fair 2016 with accompanying exhibition of work co-curated by BMW and 34FineArt. She recently completed a special edition premium Belvedere Vodka bottle design (50% of all profits to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa). As an artist in residence, Mahlangu was commissioned in 2014 by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to create two large works of art.
Mahlangu directs a school which teaches young girls not only painting but also the technique of painting designs on particular compositions of beads. The tradition is not a static entity. As the work of the same Mahlangu suggests, "tradition" is a mobile field, future-oriented and ready to incorporate diverse stimuli. In fact, although South Africa is now one of the African States which is able to facilitate and promote the work of their artists both nationally and internationally with the likes of the biennial event in Johannesburg, the work of Esther Mahlangu is even more courageous because she was born and grew up in political and social turmoil.
Esther Mahlangu has worked tirelessly exposing and developing her talent travelling around the world, and she is very passionate about sharing her knowledge with the younger generation so that she leaves a legacy that lives on for generations to come.Solo exhibitions2016 Esther Mahlangu Individual 7 series BMW and accompanying exhibition co-curated by BMW and 34FineArt, Frieze Art Fair, London, UK2015 Esther Mahlangu 80, curated by 34FineArt, UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, SA2014 Esther Mahlangu: An Artistic Residency, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia, USA2012 Overlay, 34FineArt, Cape Town, SA2010 Centro Espositivo St. Art, Calenzano, Italy2008 Esther Mahlangu: Reacquiring, The Kyle Kauffman Gallery, New York, USA2007 Esther Mahlangu 2007, 34LONG, Cape Town, SA2007 Why Africa?, Fiat 500, Turin, Italy2005 Esther Mahlangu, 34LONG, Cape Town, SA2003 Esther Mahlangu 2003, curated by 34FineArt, UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, SA1998 Museum of Oceanian and African Art, Paris, France1997 BA Airways Tail paintings, UK1991 BMW Art Cars Commission, GermanySelected exhibitions2015 Imibala Gallery, Somerset West, SA2015 Sneaker design with Swedish Company Eytys, Paris Fashion Week, France2015 40 years of BMW Art Cars, BMW Museum, Munchen, Germany2014 Traditional African Murals, Museum of African Art, Belgrade, Serbia2014 Look Mickey!, 34FineArt, Cape Town, SA2014 Les Magiciens de la Terre, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France2014 Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain2014 Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, SA2013 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK2013 Urban Interpretation, Graffik Gallery, London, UK2013 FourWalls, 34FineArt, Cape Town, SA2012 Art Drive! Exhibition, Great Eastern Street Car Park in Shoreditch, London, UK2012 Urban Interpretation, 34FineArt, Cape Town, SA2012 Blend, 34FineArt, Cape Town, SA2011 Durban Tourism Indaba, Durban, SA2011 Ensemble, 34FineArt, Cape Town, SA2011 ArtMonaco'1 1, Monaco2011 Museum of Arts and Design, New York, USA2010 Africa. Objetos y Sujetos, Teatro Fernan Gomez, Centro de Arte, Madrid, Spain2010 ATASA Trust Southern Africa Handcraft & Ndebele Art Exhibition, Newtown, SA2010 La mostra sulla Regina d'Africa Esther Mahlangu, Napoli, Italy2010 Museum of Arts and Design, New York City, USA2010 FIFA Official Artist, Italy2009 Sortileges, Fondation pour L'art Contemporain, Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Alex, France2009 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia2009 - 2010 Africa? Una nuova storia, Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy2008 The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, USA2008 Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Colorado, USA2008 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA2007 Why Africa?, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy2007 Painted the New Fiat 500 - "Why Africa?", The Pigozzi Collection, Italy2007 SA Art—Signs, Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, Slovakia2007 Berlin and Beyond Art in Public Places, Florida, USA2007 Durban Art Gallery, Durban, SA2007 Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, USA2007 The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, USA2007 Tacoma Museum of Art, Tacoma, Washington, USA2006 100% African; The Jean Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain2006 Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA2006 Memory Innovation Tradition, 34 LONG, Cape Town, SA2006 Roppongi Hills Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan2006 Beyond Lilith: The Sacred Feminine, Scuderie Aldobrandini Frascati, Roma, Italy2005 Arts of Africa, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco2005 Yokohama Triennial, Japan2005 New Identities Contemporary Art from South Africa, Pretoria Art Museum & Johannesburg Art Gallery, SA2005 Galleria Spacia, Italy2005 South Africa-USA Native American Exchange Project, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, USA2005 Project Row Houses, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA2005 African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA2005 National Museum of African Art, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA2004 New Identities Contemporary Art from South Africa, Museum Bochum, Germany2004 New Orleans Jazz Festival, South African Stage, New Orleans, USA2003 Dentro e Fuori le Mura, Fabbrica Eos, Milano, Italy2002 Passport to South Africa, Centro Culturale Trevi, Bolzano, Italy2002 The Art of Colour, Knysna Fine Art Gallery, Knysna, SA2001 Arte Africana Contemporanea, Galleria d'arte Spazia, Bologna, Italy2001 Galleria Cavellini, Brescia, Italy2001 South Africa Today, The Helsinki Fair Centre, Finland2000 5th Biennale of Contemporary Art, Lyons, France2000 Dialogue of Cultures, EXPO 2000, Hannover, Germany1999 The Three Rivers Art Festival, Pittsburgh, USA1999 <<REWIND>>FAST FORWARD.ZA, Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn, Netherlands1998 Solo Exhibition, Musee des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, Paris, France1998 Africa Africa: Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent, Tobu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan1997 Exhibit Gallery, Philadelphia, USA1997 York College, Los Angeles, California, USA1997 Mural for National Museum of Woman in the Arts, Washington D.C., USA1997 Ndebele Images - Then and Now, National Arts Club, New York, USA1997 Oog op Zuidelijke Afrika, Het Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands1997 Portal to America, Installation, Spoleto Festival, Charleston, South Carolina, USA1997 African Immigrant Folklife Festival, Washington D.C., USA1996 Parish Gallery, Georgetown, USA1996 Exhibition for the Congressional Black Caucus, Washington D.C., USA1996 Armour J. Blackburn Centre, Howard University, Washington D.C., USA1996 World Bank, Washington D.C., USA1996 Mural - Ministry of Finance Building, Pretoria, SA1996 Mural - Alexandra Township Stadium, Johannesburg, SA1995 BMW Art Cars and Paintings Exhibition, Sydney, Australia1995 Group Exhibition, Market Theatre, Johannesburg, SA1994 BMW Art Cars Collection, National Museum of Woman in the Arts, Washington D.C., USA1994 Mural - National Museum of Woman in the Arts, Washington D.C., USA1994 Mural - Ndebele College of Education, KwaNdebele, SA1994 Mural - African Festival, Lisbon, Portugal1994 Mural - European Inventive Business Travel Meetings Exhibition, Geneva, Switzerland1994 Out of Africa, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France1993 La Grande Verite, Les Astres Africains, Nantes Fine Arts Museum, Nantes, France1993 European Inventive Business Travel Meetings Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal1993 Geneva International Exhibition, Geneva, Switzerland1992 Comme des Garcons, Tokyo, Japan; New York, USA; and Paris, France1992 Out of Africa, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK1992 Fire Screen, Civic Theatre, Johannesburg, SA1992 BMW Art Cars, Documenta 9, Kassel, Germany1992 Africa Hoy, Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands1992 Africa Hoy, Cultural Centre of Contemporary Art, Mexico City, Mexico1991 BMW Art Cars, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, SA1991 Painting columns in Building, Tokyo, Japan1991 Fashion Collection, Tokyo, Japan1991 Ny Afrikansk Billedkunst, Copenhagen, Denmark1991 Africa Hoy, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas, de Gran Canaria, Spain1990 Caravan Auto Show, Lavante, France1990 Bordeaux Festival, Bordeaux, France1990 Mural Painting, Rosebank Shopping Centre, SA1990 Mural Painting, Johannesburg School, SA1989 Centre de la Villette, Paris, France1989 Fine Arts Museum, Angoulême, France1989 Mural Painting, Musee des Beaux Arts, France1989 Les Magiciens de la Terre, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FranceCollectionsMeulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, SlovakiaThe Pigozzi Collection, Geneva, SwitzerlandJohnnic Communications Management Services Collection, Johannesburg, SAMuseum Bochum, Bochum, GermanySouth African National Gallery, Iziko Museums, Cape Town, SABROKER Art Collection, BelgiumBOE Bank, Cape Town, SAMusee des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie, Paris, FranceBotshabelo Museum, Botshabelo, SABMW Art Cars Collection, GermanyWorld Bank Collection, USAMuseum of Modern Art, Equatorial GuineaBHP Billiton Collection, Johannesburg, SARoppongi Hills Art Museum, JapanVirginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia, USAMuseum Bochum, GermanyPretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, SARE:CM Collection, Cape Town, SANational Museum ofWoman in the Arts, Washington D.C., USACentre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FranceMusee des Beaux Arts, FranceUniversity of Cape Town, SA
Esther Mahlangu's work is also represented in numerous public and private collections.2015 The Lilizela Tourism Award, Roots and culture, SA2015 South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards, Life Time Achievement Award, SA2013 1st Mbokodo Award, SA2012 1st Mbokodo Award, South African Women in the Arts, SA2010 Increasing Access to the Arts Award - 13th annual BASA Awards, SA2007 The Heritage Award for Preservation and Promotion of South African Heritage and Culture, The Premier of KZN, SA2006 The Order of Ikhamanga (Silver), Government of South Africa, SA2006 National Arts and Culture Trust, Lifetime Achievement Award, SA2001 Arts and Culture Award, Art Promotion, SA2001 Pan African Broadcasting, Heritage and Achievement Award (PABHA), SA2001 Radio Ndebele Award, SA1999 Mpumalanga Arts and Culture Award, SA1997 Nassau County Commendation, New York, USA1997 Incorporated Village of Hempstead Citation, Hempstead, New York, USA1997 Ministry of Culture and Communication, Centre de la Villette, France1996 Mpumalanga Sport Premier's Culture Award, SA1988 Radio Ndebele Award, SA
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