Twenty-five years ago South African artist, Esther Mahlangu was the first woman to create artwork on a BMW 525i sedan. Its bodywork was adorned with the bright colours and unique ornamental shapes typical of Ndebele art, thus transforming it into a celebrated BMW Art Car.

For the second time the artist has joined forces with BMW and refined a BMW 7 Series. In collaboration with the BMW Individual Manufaktur, Mahlangu transformed a luxury sedan into a dynamic work of art by painting her characteristic motifs on the genuine wood interior trims.

For Esther Mahlangu, art is created from tradition. She was born a member of the Ndebele tribe in 1935 in Middelburg, a small town in the north-eastern province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. At the early age of 10, she began to paint under the guidance of her mother and grandmother.

Traditionally, Ndebele women decorate the exterior walls of houses with elaborately painted patterns and graphic elements, symbolising important events such as weddings or other celebrations; the walls therefore become an active communicative media within the community. Esther Mahlangu has separated these decorations and patterns from her people‘s traditional art of painting. In the form of paintings, vessels or carpets, she has constantly brought Ndebele art into new contexts, combining her artwork with items used in everyday life.

Products and techniques within the BMW Individual Collection offer customers unique equipment options. They comprise features that are perfectly aligned to each BMW model, including exclusive paint finishes, high quality leather, special interior trims and other options. Should a customer desire even greater individuality, BMW Individual will find a solution and implement it with meticulous precision and masterful craftsmanship.

The results are personalised one-of-a-kind vehicles that uniquely reflect the owner’s particular character. In order to achieve this the BMW Individual Manufaktur offers a virtually inexhaustible spectrum of possibilities, including more than 100 special paint finishes.

For the full article see Habitat #256 November / December 2016