25 years ago Esther Mahlangu, the South African artist, was the first woman to create artwork on a BMW 525i Sedan. Its bodywork was decorated with the bright colours and unique ornamental shapes, following the typical of Ndebele art and thus turning it into a BMW Art Car. Esther Mahlangu has now again joined forces with BMW and refined a BMW 7 Series. In collaboration with the BMW Individual Manufaktur, Mahlangu transformed a luxury sedan into a dynamic work of art by painting her characteristic motifs on the real wood interior trims.
To facilitate this, the specialists at BMW Individual Manufaktur oversaw the full manufacturing process. They developed a special white-coloured fine-wood trim so that Esther’s images could be hand pained on before sealing them to ensure their longevity and installing them within the equally remarkable vehicle. The one-of-a-kind automobile will be shown to the public for the first time at this year’s Frieze Art Fair (5- 9 October) in Regent’s Park, London. The vehicle will be offered for sale via a silent auction, of which the proceeds will be donated to a good cause.
The 81-year-old artist said: “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.”
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