Collection: Esther Mahlangu

Esther Mahlangu is an award-winning visual artist and beloved cultural ambassador of South Africa. She was born in 1935 and began painting at the age of 10.

Bold creations inspired by the Ndebele culture, for which she has gained global recognition, adorn many of the world's most esteemed museums, private collections, state collections, and corporate collections. Many experts believe that any significant contemporary African collection cannot be considered complete without one of her works.

While steadfastly adhering to her traditional Ndebele culture and choosing to live in a village in Mpumalanga, Dr. Mahlangu continues to spend much of her time in many of the largest and most modern cities in the world, collaborating with museums, art fairs, curators, celebrities, and respected global brands.

One of the most renowned African artists, Esther Mahlangu, who resides in South Africa, paints vibrant geometric creations based on traditional Ndebele patterns. Growing up in the Ndebele community, she refined her lines by painting residential homes. Mahlangu's iconic abstractions gained international attention after she was included in the Pompidou Center's 1989 group exhibition "Magiciens de la Terre" ("Magicians of the Earth"), where she painted a replica of her house in front of visitors. Two years later, she became the first woman and the first African artist commissioned to paint a BMW Art Car. Mahlangu also collaborates with various brands such as Belvedere, British Airways, and Rolls-Royce, and her works are found in the collections of celebrities like John Legend, Oprah Winfrey, Trevor Noah, and Swizz Beatz. She still resides in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, where she teaches Ndebele painting and beadwork to young artists.

She is considered a visionary and trailblazer who first conveyed traditional Ndebele design through contemporary means and painted everything from canvas, walls, ceramic pots, sneakers, and doors to cars, bicycles, motorcycles, and skateboard decks.

This led her to collaborate with well-known companies worldwide such as Rolls-Royce, BMW, Fiat, South African Airways, British Airways, John Legend, Belvedere Vodka, the Smithsonian Museum, Freshpak Rooibos, and many others.

In 2018, Dr. Mahlangu was awarded two honorary doctorates, in 2019 she was appointed a Cultural Ambassador, the highest honor for contributions to art, and the Department of Arts and Culture released a book in her honor. In Johannesburg, she received a United Nations award.

In 2020, she became the first artist in the world commissioned to paint an artwork on the new Rolls-Royce Phantom, which was named "Mahlangu" in her honor, for the "gallery."