ESTHER MAHLANGU 80
UCT Irma Stern Museum
11 November –
2 December 2015
On 11 November 2015, internationally
renowned artist, Esther Mahlangu, will celebrate her
80th birthday with a solo exhibition, Esther Mahlangu
80, at the UCT Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town,
South Africa. The exhibition will comprise of recent
paintings and three-dimensional works. Mahlangu’s
first solo exhibition at the Museum was in 2003 and
her return to the former residence of one of South
Africa’s most famous female artists, Irma Stern,
is especially apt given the inspiration Stern drew
from South Africa and its people.
Although fundamentally informed by Ndebele artistic
practices, many art historians, critics and writers
have overlooked the similarities between Mahlangu
and her contemporaries by framing her work strictly
from an anthropological and cultural perspective.
Although her aesthetic vocabulary remains deeply rooted
in memory and tradition, innovation has played an
essential part in Mahlangu’s unconventional
Mahlangu's contemporary status began with the Magiciens
de la terre exhibition in the Pompidou in 1989,
at a time when political turmoil at home and sanctions
abroad made international participation almost impossible
for all but a few South African artists.
Since then she has gone on to collaborate and exhibit
with many of the best-known artists around the world.
In 1991, she was invited to be the 12th artist to
paint a BMW as part of the Art Car Collection, becoming
the first woman and the first African to do so, and
joining an illustrious list of artists, including
Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and David
Hockney. In 2000 at the 5th Biennale in Lyon,
France, she collaborated with American artist Sol
LeWitt on a work which was exhibited at the main entrance,
and more recently, she was commissioned by the Virginia
Museum of Fine Arts to do two major works for
the Museum's permanent collection in 2014.
Exposure to new cultures, countries, materials, and
techniques has brought about new reasoning behind
Mahlangu’s work, although she has personally
remained unchanged by her rising prominence within
the Art World. Born on 11 November 1935, she lives
in the Mabokho village of Weltevrede (Afrikaans for
‘well satisfied’) in the KwaMahlanga district
in Mpumalanga Province. Whenever she is not touring
or exhibiting overseas she stays at home, walking
around the house barefoot, tending her small patch
of maize, and keeping busy with what she likes most
- painting and teaching local girls about Ndebele
culture and art.
Mahlangu will visit Cape Town for her exhibition in
November and will be available for interviews and
signings on the opening night. Copies of the comprehensive
exhibition catalogue, Esther Mahlangu 80,
featuring no less than seven essays and covering most
of her life and work, will be available from 34FineArt.
A new signed silkscreen print, edition of 80 only,
produced in London in 2015, will be on sale.
Also on view in this exhibition will be a new range
of sneakers designed by Mahlangu in collaboration
with Swedish fashion label EYTYS during June 2015.
Released at Paris fashion week, these will be introduced
in high-end fashion stores in Milan, London, Paris
and New York in 2016.
The exhibition will open on Wednesday 11 November 2015
at 18h30 and will run until 2 December 2015 at the
Stern Museum, Cecil road, Rosebank,
Cape Town. Gallery hours: Tuesday - Friday 10h00-17h00,
Sat 10h00-14h00. For more information the Gallery
can be contacted at 021 685 5686.
organised as part of the South African Season in
the UK. The SA-UK
Seasons 2014 & 2015 is a partnership
between the Department of Arts and Culture, South
Africa and the British Council. 34FineArt acknowledges
their sponsorship, please include their logo below
in all media releases.
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