Iconic South African Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu shines with honorary doctorate

Francis Akhalbey Apr 10, 2018 at 07:47am

April 10, 2018 at 07:47 am | News

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

April 10, 2018 at 07:47 am | News

Esther Mahlangu -- Photo via @NathiMthethwaSA on Twitter

Internationally renowned South African artist Esther Mahlangu was on Monday, April 9, conferred with an honorary doctorate by the University of Johannesburg in recognition of her skills as an educator and cultural entrepreneur.

Born in 1935 in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa, Esther Mahlangu is a world-famous Ndebele artist and member of the southern Ndebele tribe. Among the Ndebele people, it is the job of women to adorn the homestead with intricate paintings and motifs. Consequently, as a child, Mahlangu learned the art of painting under the guidance of her mother and grandmother.

Traditional Ndebele art features colorful and intricate geometric paintings. The designs are made using a motif and is characterized with repeated geometric shapes bound by a thin black border in distinct contrast with the white background. In the old days, the pigmentation used was prepared from a mixture of cow dung and chalk.

Her designs have featured prominently on British Airways planes, the Fiat 500 and BMW vehicles as well as on several international forums, such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York and the Urban Interpretation, Graffik Gallery London U.K.

Mahlangu will next month participate in the international women’s exhibition, also featuring conceptual artist Yoko Ono. The exhibition will be at the Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park in Johannesburg.

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