Untitled Abstract I

Esther Mahlangu


Acrylic on Canvas, 2014


104cm x 84cm

More Artwork by Esther Mahlangu

Born november 11th 1935 in Middleburg (South Africa).Esther Mahlangu lives in the village of Weltervrede in the Mpumalanga Province. She is a remarkable woman who against all odds, traveled and exhibited overseas in 1989(Les magiciens de la terre), in France a time when political turmoil at home and sanctions abroad made international participation only a dream for all but a few South African artists.

In the tradition of the Ndebele,Esther Mahlangu was taught how to paint by her grandmother and mother at the age of 10.

Mahlangu’s artistic flair emerged when, at puberty, she underwent the traditional Ndebele practice in which young women are cloistered from society for a few months and taught the traditional craft of beadwork. These early lessons would later serve as training for her artistic career.

The traditional Ndebele technique of wall painting entailed first finishing a house in cow dung, before decorating the walls with designs rendered in coloured clay. When she was growing up in the 1940s, the use of modern paints was introduced and the colourful geometrical shapes that have come to define Ndebele art also evolved at this time. It was these influences which would serve to inspire her work later in her career.