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Contemporary African Art Collection by Jean Pigozzi

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Esther Mahlangu

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Born in 1935, Middeleburg, Afrique du Sud.
Lives and works in Mabhoko.

Esther Mahlangu is part of the Ndebele community in the Gauteng, located north of Pretoria. The Ndebele, unlike many other tribes in South Africa, have managed to preserve their centuries’ old ancestral traditions. Despite being a patriarchal society, artistic heritage is handed down from mother to daughter; as a young woman reaches puberty she withdraws from male society for three months and is taught the ceremonial patterns of Ndebele beadwork—in the nineteenth century this tradition was extended to decorative wall paintings, also executed exclusively by the Ndebele women.

Esther Mahlangu is an important proponent of this tradition. She draws freehand, without first measuring or sketching, using luminous and high-contrast vinyl paints that lend extraordinary vigor to her murals. While at a glance purely abstract, her compositions are built upon a highly inventive system of signs and symbols. Mahlangu is the first Ndebele artist to transpose wall paintings onto canvases and to take the conventions of her artwork into the larger arena. In 1989 she came to Paris to create murals Magiciens de la Terre exhibition, and by agreeing to undertake further commissioned works for public buildings like the Civic Theater of Johannesburg, for museums, for BMW, for Comme des Garçons, Mahlangu has made Ndebele art celebrated world over. She has stated: “My mother and grandmother taught me to paint when I was ten years old. I have been busy with it ever since and have always liked it. When I am painting my heart is very wide, it reaches out. It makes me feel very, very happy.”

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2012
Overlay – Esther Mahlangu, 34FineArt, Cape Town, South Africa

2008
Esther Mahlangu: Reacquiring
The Kyle Kauffman Gallery
New-York, USA

2007
Esther Mahlangu 2007
34 LONG
Cape Town, South Africa

2005
Esther Mahlangu
34 LONG
Cape Town, South Africa

2003
Esther Mahlangu
UCT Irma Stern Museum
Cape Town - South Africa

1998
Museum of Oceanian and African Art.
Paris, France.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2014/2015
Traditional African Murals, Museum of African Art, Belgrade

2010/2011
África. Objetos y Sujetos, Teatro Fernán Gómez. Centro de Arte, Madrid, Spain

2009 - 2010
Africa? Una nuova storia
Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy

2009
Sortileges, Fondation pour L'art Contemporain, Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Alex, France

2008
Regeneration, Kyle Kauffman Gallery, New York

2007/2008
Why Africa?
Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
Turin, Italy

2006/2007
100% Africa
Guggenheim Museum
Bilbao, Spain

2005
Arts of Africa
Grimaldi Forum
Monaco - France

2005
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Houston - USA

2003
Dentro e Fuori le Mura
Fabbrica Eos
Milan – Italy

2002
Passport to South Africa
Centro Culturale Trevi,
Bolzano – Italy

2002
The Art of Colour
Knysna Fine Art Gallery
Knysna - South Africa

2001
Galleria Cavellini
Brescia – Italy

2001
South Africa Today
The Helsinki Fair Centre - Finland

2001
Tribal Soul, Metropolitan Body.
Contemporary African Art.
Spazia Art Gallery.
Bolona, Italy.

2000
Lyon 5th Biennal of Contemporary Art.
Halle Tony Garnier.
Lyon, France.

1998
Africa Africa Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent.
Tobu Museum of Art.
Tokyo, Japan.

1997
Exhibit Gallery.
Philadelphia, USA.

1997
York College.
Los Angeles, California, USA.

1997
Mural for National Museum of Women in The Arts.
National Museum.
Washington D. C, USA.

1997
Ndebele Images Then and Now.
National Arts Club.
New York, USA.

1997
Oog Op Zuidelijk Afrika.
Berg en Dal, Holland.

1997
Portal to America.
Spoleto Festival.
Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

1996
Parish Gallery.
Georgetown.
Washington D.C, USA.

1996
Special Exhibit.
Congressional Black Caucus.
Washington D.C, USA.

1996
Amour J. Blackburn Center.
Howard University, Washington, USA.

1996
World Bank.
Washington D.C, USA.

1995
BMW Art Car and Paintings.
Sydney, Australia.

1995
Group Show of Paintings.
Market Theatre.
Johannesburg, South Africa.

1994
The BMW Art Car Collection and Paintings.
National Museum of Women in The Arts.
Washington D.C, USA.

1993
Geneva, International Exhibition.
Geneva, Switzerland.

1993
South African Meeting.
Lisboa, Portugal.

1993
La Grande Vérité, Les Astres Africains.
Nantes, Fine Arts Museum.
Nantes, France.

1992
Civic Theatre.
Johannesburg, South Africa.

1992
Fire Screen.
Civic Theatre.
Johannesburg, South Africa.

1992
NDEBELE.
"Comme des Garçons."
Tokyo, Japan.
New York, USA.
Paris, France.

1992
Out of Africa.
Gallery Saatchi.
London, UK.

1992
BMW Art Car.
Documenta 9.
Kassel, Germany.

1991
Fashion Collection.
Painting on Fabrics.
Tokyo, Japan.

1993-1991
AFRICA HOY
AFRICA NOW
NY AFRIKANSK BILLEDKUNST.
Atlantic Center of Modern Art.
Grand Canary Isle, Las Palmas, Spain.
Cultural Center of Modern Art.
Mexico City, Mexico.
Groninger Museum.
Groninger, Netherland.
Rundetarn, Danemark1991
BMW Art Car.
Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town.
South Africa.

1990
Caravan.
Auto Show.
Lavante, France.

1990
Bordeaux Festival .
Bordeaux, France.

1989
Magiciens de la Terre.
Georges Pompidou Center.
Paris, France.

1989
Fine Arts Museum.
Angouleme, France.

1989
Mural.
Fine Arts Museum.
Museum for African Art.
Paris, France.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2015
Njegovanović-Ristić, Nataša, Traditional African Murals, Exhibition catalog, The Museum of African Art, Veda and dr Zdravko Pecar Collection, 2015

2009
South African Art Now, Sue Williamson, Collins Design, 2009

2007
Why Africa?
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Electa & Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.

2006
100% Africa
Exhibition catalogue. Published by TF Editores & FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.

2005
African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.

2003
Esther Mahlangu
By F.R. de Jager and A.G. Loots. Cape Town: Vgallery.

2001
Anima Tribal, Corpo Metropolitano.
Tribal Soul, Metropolitan Body, Mahlangu p.88-89.
Arte Africana Contemporanea, Contemporary African Art.
Exhibition Catalogue.
Publisher : l'Artiere Edizionitalia.

1998
Africa Africa Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent.
Exhibition Catalogue.
Published and Edited by The Tobu Museum of Art. Tokyo, Japan.

1996
Contemporary Art of Africa.
Esther Mahlangu & Francina Ndimande by Jean-Michel Rousset.
Edited by André Magnin & Jacques Soulillou.
Publisher Harry N. Abraams.

1995
Ndebele by Ivor Powell.
Publisher Struik (Pry) Ltd.
Cape Town.

1989
Magiciens de la Terre.
Exhibition Catalogue.
Published by The Georges Pompidou Center, Paris - France


Esther Mahlangu Biography - © 2010-2017 The Contemporary African Art Collection - Contact Caacart - Seydou Keita Photographer, the official website, new, click here