The Ndebele people of Mpumalanga are perhaps most famous for their brightly patterned homes, which according to tradition are painted when the young men of the village undergo the rite of circumcision. Esther Mahlangu is an Ndebele artist who has achieved international recognition, with her work having been commissioned by big name brands such as BMW and British Airways. Mahlangu was responsible for the first African ‘art car’, and lent her hand to the artwork for the tails of the BA aeroplanes. Mahlangu’s artworks, including the BMW, were recently shown at the British Museum as part of the exhibition, South Africa: The Art of a Nation, the first ever major UK exhibition on South African art.
This week Esther Mahlangu was honoured in New York with a mural spanning a two lane road having been painted in iconic Ndebele patterns. An aerial view of the mural shows off the striking colours and patterns that Mahlangu, and the Ndebele people whom she’s come to represent, are so proud of.