The 1991 model BMW 525i which was designed as a work of art by Esther Mahlangu for BMW Art Car Project was exhibited in Turkey for the first time in Contemporary Istanbul to be organized in Istanbul Congress Centre and Lütfi Kırdar International Congress and Exhibition Centre. At the entrance to the exhibition venue, art and auto lovers were welcomed by two BMW i8 automobiles.
The patterns painted on BMW parts by Mahlangu, who is the first women to have painted for the BMW Art Car Project 25 years ago, meet the African tradition with the spirit of BMW. Women in Ndebele tribe in South Africa, of which Esther Mahlangu is a member, decorate the outer walls of houses with fine patterns and graphics in marriage ceremonies and other occurrences, using them as some sort of active communication board. Having started to paint under the guidance of her mother and grandmother as a 10-year-old girl, Mahlangu, has taken this traditional art from its existing limits to a brand-new dimension by painting the surfaces of different daily objects ranging from cups to carpets.
“To paint is in my heart and it is 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 started off 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,” says the 81-year-old artist. And she adds, “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.”
Having been the first female artist to join BMW Art Car Project 25 years ago, Esther Mahlangu embellished the body of this 1991 model car with vibrant colours and unprecedented motifs which are unique to Ndebele art, turning it into a BMW Art Car.
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