As part of part of The Global Africa Project which explores the impact of African visual culture on contemporary art, craft and design, BMW will be displaying the 1991 525i Art Car designed by South African artist Esther Mahlangu, at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York City from November 17, 2010 – May 15, 2011. The artist has painted the car in her Ndebele tribe’s traditional colors.
When you compare this old one to the most recent one done by Jeff Koons you have to say it’s got more soul and therefore it’s more interesting! Specially as Esther never went to any college and learned painting from her mother. The theme of this art car is well-known Ndebele patterns created exclusively by the women of the tribe.
“Ndebele art has, in an entirely natural way, something slightly formal but very majestic about it; through my work I have added the idea of movement,” said Esther Mahlangu. “My art has evolved from our tribal tradition of decorating the home,” says the African painter Esther Mahlangu commenting on her work
By painting the BMW 525i she has passed on her tribe’s traditional means of expression to an object of contemporary technology. In order to develop a feel for the completely new medium, she initially painted the door of another BMW before beginning with the design of the Art Car. Within one week she had transformed the car into a masterpiece of African Ndebele art.