Live Virtual Auction, 22 September 2021
About this Item
Dr Esther Mahlangu is a multi-award-winning visual artist, and a much loved South African cultural ambassador. She was born in 1935 and has been painting since she was 10 years old. The bold Ndebele-inspired artworks for which she is globally acclaimed grace many of the world’s most respected museums, private, public, and corporate collections. Many experts believe that any important Pan African Contemporary collection cannot be considered complete without including one of her works.
Mahlangu grew up outside Middelburg, Mpumalanga, and learned the art of Ndebele wall painting and beadwork from her mother and grandmother. She first came to national and international prominence when she painted an installation of brightly coloured traditional geometric designs with strong black outlines for the Magiciens de la Terre (Magicians of the Earth) exhibition in Paris in 1989. She was invited to paint a design on a BMW 525i (as part of the BMW Art Car Project) in 1991 and in 2020 painted panels for a Rolls-Royce Phantom. In 2018 Mahlangu was presented with two honorary doctorates, in 2019 she was appointed an Officer of Arts and Letters which is Frances highest decoration for contribution to the arts, the Department of Arts and Culture published a book in her honour and she received an award from the United Nations in Johannesburg. She also paints her characteristic designs on canvas at a smaller scale and teaches traditional art skills to a new generation of young artists at her art school in Mabhoko, Mpumalanga.
Donated by the artist. Courtesy of The Melrose Gallery, Johannesburg.
Framing courtesy of Maxwoods Framers and Gilders.