Esther Mahlungu in the BMW 750Li Individual

The BMW 750Li will get a colourful Ndebele upgrade thanks to South African artist Esther Mahlangu. 

This is not the artist’s first collaboration with BMW: 26 years ago Esther Mahlangu made history by being the first woman artist to create artwork for the BMW 525i Sedan. In 2016, her work on the BMW 7 series was displayed at the Frieze Art Fair in London and her work on the 525i was exhibited at the British Museum’s “South Africa: The Art of a Nation” show.

Esther Mahlangu’s Ndebele art painted onto panels to be fitted into the BMW.

Collaborations of this kind have given talented artists like Mahlangu the platform to be recognized globally, and rightfully so. Esther Mahlangu’s contribution to the African art landscape is highly attributed to the emergence of a globalized perspective towards art, a shift from Western and embrace of the talent that exists within Africa and the diaspora.

The BMW Group South Africa is now the official owner of the commissioned Esther Mahlangu art, set to be installed in the panels of the BMW 750Li Individual.  “The patterns I have used on the BMW panels marry tradition to the essence of BMW. When BMW sent me the panels to paint, I could see the design in my head and I just wanted to get started! I started by painting the small ones first to get the feel of the surface and then it was easy as the design follows the lines of the panels,” said Esther.

BMW 750Li Individual panels with Esther Mahlangu’s Ndebele art
BMW 750Li Individual panels with Esther Mahlangu’s Ndebele art

And the car itself? The interior features the finest leather; full fine-grain Merino leather in Smoke White/Black which will be complemented by the bold Ndebele artworks.

The BMW Group has been focused on recognizing the emergence of art and music’s contribution to technology and through this vision have also collaborated with artists such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Daniel Barenboim, Jonas Kaufmann and architect Zaha Hadid.

The CEO of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Tim Abbott noted the pride that the BMW brand has in preserving Esther’s art and sharing her legacy with the people of South Africa.