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Arts Design

How Can an Illiterate African Woman Be the Greatest Artist in the World?

In South Africa, there are a group of art people who love color very much – Ndebele. They like to wear colorful textiles, hair bands made of small beads, and gold bracelets around their necks, wrists and ankles.        


In addition to the unique clothing style, their pursuit of "beauty" is all over every part of their life. On the walls of the village, there are exquisite wall paintings with geometric contrast patterns.           

People in the village are very fond of painting. Every important day, they will paint together to renovate the walls of the village. Among these villagers, there is a world-class artist, Esther Mahlangu           

Mahlangu was born in 1935, and now he is 84 years old. It should have been time to enjoy the happiness at home, but she has always insisted on wearing ethnic costumes and traveling around the world to draw. “I don't want my culture dies.”           

Mahlangu 's early creation known to the public was that in 1991 she was invited by BMW to draw the BMW 525I into an art car.           

She was the first African and the first female painter to paint an art car for BMW. At that time, the artists who participated in the art activity were Andy Warhol, David Hockney and other world’s famous masters.           

Mahlangu meticulously designed Ndebele 's mural style and painted it on the car's shell, turning the mass-produced car into an extraordinary and energetic artwork.           

Since then, Mahlangu has made a great reputation and has been invited to paint or hold exhibitions in 12 countries, including South Africa, Europe and the United States. People are deeply attracted by this unique African Ndebele style.           

Although the old artist has never been to school, she can express her infinite love for African art in the simplest words. "When people talk about me, they will say that I have traveled all over the world to stick to my culture and paint, which is why people remember me. I will never abandon my Ndebele culture, and I will always respect my culture. No matter where I go, I will never forget my roots. "

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African Esther Mahlangu Mahlangu Illiterate Ndebele South Africa


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