A vehicle for resistance | The British Museum

Dr. Esther Mahlangu
27 Jan 2017

In 1991, to mark the end of apartheid, BMW invited Esther Mahlangu to make a work of art for their Art Car project. Her work, with its brightly coloured geometric shapes, draws on the traditional house-painting designs of Ndebele people in South Africa.


‘I have been making art all my life because it is in my heart and in my blood. When I paint I am happy. I strived to show people from all over the world my work and to tell them my story as an artist, an Ndebele woman artist, who against all odds travelled the world … I know that long after I am gone, people will still go and see my paintings and they will remember there was an artist called Esther Mahlangu, and she came from South Africa.’ – Esther Mahlangu (born 1935)

In 1975 the French racing driver and art auctioneer Hervé Poulain approached BMW with the idea of inviting eminent artists to transform its cars into works of art. Art Cars were created by world-famous artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella and Alexander Calder. In 1991, as apartheid legislation was being repealed, BMW commissioned Esther Mahlangu to create an Art Car to mark this historic moment...Click to continue reading

Author:British Museum and Andrew Shore

Article first seen: https://blog.britishmuseum.org