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Twenty- five years ago Esther Mahlangu, a South African artist, was asked by BMW to paint a 525i sedan using the bright colours and unique ornamental shapes typical of Ndebele art, turning the vehicle into an iconic BMW Art Car.
Now, for the second time, Mahlangu has joined forces with BMW and painted her characteristic designs on wood trim that adorns the interior of the brand’s latest 7-Series.
To facilitate the process specialists at BMW developed white-coloured, fine- wood trim which Esther painted before the panels were sealed and installed in the vehicle’s interior. The one-of-a-kind car will be shown to the public for the first time this month at London’s Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park, where it will be auctioned for an art charity.
Esther, 81, 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. When BMW sent me the panels to paint, I could see the design in my head and I just wanted to get started! My heart was full of joy!”
The BMW Individual 7 Series by Esther Mahlangu is a six-cylinder, right-hand drive model that boasts an array of equipment from the comprehensive BMW Individual Collection. Apart from the artist’s paintwork, the interior features ne-grain Merino leather.