25 years ago, Esther Mahlangu, a South African artist, 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 turning it into a BMW Art Car. Esther Mahlangu has now, for the second time, 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 real wood interior trims.

To facilitate this the specialists at BMW Individual Manufaktur oversaw the full manufacturing process. They developed a special white-coloured fine-wood trim to be painted with Esther’s images before sealing them to ensure their longevity and installing them within the equally remarkable vehicle. The one-of-a-kind automobile will be shown to the public for the first time at this year’s Frieze Art Fair (5- 9 October) in Regent’s Park, London. The vehicle will be offered for silent auction. Proceeds from the sale of the vehicle will be donated to a good cause.

The 81-year-old artist said: “To paint is in my heart and it’s in my blood. The way I paint was taught to me by my mother and my grandmother. The images and colours have changed and I have painted on many different surfaces and objects but I still love to paint. The patterns I have used on the BMW parts 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 start 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.

My art has taken me all over the world and I have seen many places, I have painted many walls and objects and my work is in many museums but I am still Esther Mahlangu from Mpumalanga in South Africa. My heart was full of joy when BMW asked me again to paint for them.”

Dr Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of the BMW AG, explained: “Within the framework of the long-term partnership with Frieze and Frieze Masters, we are combining our cultural engagement with BMW Individual for the very first time. I am delighted that we have been able to work again with Esther Mahlangu, an exceptional artist and someone I remember well from my time in South Africa. Together with experts from BMW Individual Manufaktur and BMW Group Design, Esther has created a unique work of art – a BMW Individual 7 Series that forms an extraordinary relationship between craftsmanship and Ndebele art.”

Premiere at the Frieze Art Fair in London.

The BMW Individual 7 Series by Esther Mahlangu will be unveiled at the BMW Lounge at Frieze in London, located directly next to the “Frieze Auditorium”. Further artwork by the South African artist will also be on display providing an insight into her creative work.

The vehicle will be auctioned in a silent sale starting September 5th where bidders can submit their bids online at  https://www.bmw.co.uk/7seriesauction or register their bid during the fair at the BMW 7 Series Lounge after having experienced the unveiling of the car. After the fair has ended, the person with the highest bid will become the vehicle owner, facilitated through BMW Retail Online. Proceeds will go to the charitable art project “The Art Room”, a project jointly chosen by Frieze and BMW. Using art as a medium, “The Art Room” supports five to sixteen year old children and youths in their development. At an Art Talk event being held during Frieze week in London, Esther Mahlangu will also speak on the topic of South African art together with Christopher Spring, curator of contemporary, Eastern and Southern Africa at the British Museum, and provide further insight into her creative work.

What do you think of Esther’s latest BMW masterpiece? Tell us below.