In 1986, some researchers from Paris went around the world documenting art and culture. They did not know they would end up looking at Esther Mahlangu’s house in Weltevrede, Kwamhlanga in South Africa’s Mpumalanga. They were looking at meticulously done patterns and bright colours of a Ndebele artistic legend who has now conquered not only South Africa but Japan, Italy and France. After discovering her and facilitating for her to travel to France with her 50 kg worth of mealie-meal supplies, Gogo Mahlangu was invited to paint a prototype of the new BMW 525i , a first for women let alone for black women. She has not stopped since then and recently, she collaborated with American singer John Legend in an effort to fight AIDS. Gogo Mahlangu in partnership with Belvedere Luxury Vodka created Ndebele printed bottles which will be used for fundraising towards fighting HIV/AIDS.
Among her other notable feats, the artistic genius was commissioned to paint the tail of a British Airways Boeing, was commissioned by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in the United States of America to create two large works of art. Recently, Gogo Mahlangu again got her hands on a BMW, this time a 7-Series which has been transformed into another undeniable masterpiece. The amalgam of BMW luxury and Ndebele patterns and colours is probably the best thing the world has seen this year. This woman is simply not stopping! The car will be shown to the public for the first time at the 2016 Frieze Art Fair (October 5-9) in Regent’s Park, London. Here are some select artworks by the legendary Gogo Mahlangu
The magnum opus: BMW meets Ndebele brilliance
Taking Ndebele Art to the Skies
The Legend’s home is a showpiece in itself
The two legends with a limited bottle of Belvedere done by Gogo herself
Ceramic with a dash of colour and African style
The new standard!
Gogo Mahlangu is a definite trendsetter who has popularised African art forms. She says, “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.”
She has not been changed by her fame and success yet she has changed the world’s perception of African art. What a woman!