Right now, New Yorkers are walking across a giant Ndebele-inspired mural that’s been painted across a two-lane road in Tribeca.
The mural, painted by American muralist Iman Shaklin Roberts in honour of legendary Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu, is the product of a partnership between South African Tourism’s US office, South African Airways and the New York bicycle sharing platform, Citi Bike.
Posting on Instagram, Roberts said the piece represents “a feminine energy force that is all encompassing, inclusive and awe-inspiring”.
Mahlangu was born in Mpumalanga in 1936. She learnt traditional Ndebele painting and beadwork growing up as a child and has travelled the world showcasing her mural and painting skills. In the 1980s, she decorated a wall inside the infamous Angoulême Museum of Fine Art in France. In 1991, Mahlangu became the first woman to create artwork on a BMW 525i sedan, which was displayed at the Frieze Art Fair at the British Museum, and refined the BMW 7 Series in 2016. She also teamed up with luxury vodka brand, Ciroc, and R&B singer and songwriter John Legend to help design vodka bottles on an HIV awareness campaign.
Read more about the Mahlangu mural at HuffPost SA.