81-Year-Old African Artist Pens Latest BMW Art Car


This is South African artist's second BMW Art Car, more subtle but still pretty cool.

BMWArt Cars are always a hit, even though some have been known to illicit the sameresponse as eating a spoon full of cinnamon – a gag reflex. The cars createdhave always become famous thanks to the well-known artists that have beencommissioned to do the work. Over the years, BMW has been able to rope in thelikes of Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer and Jeff Koons. Incidentally Jeff’s versionis the most well known thanks to the artwork being done on an M3 GT2 in thesocial media age – it went viral.

South African artist Esther Mahlangu was the first female artist to be commissioned, and also the first to do a second BMW Art Car project, her first was on a 1991 BMW 525i. Now25 years later, at the age of 81, Esther got to add her Ndebele design flair toa new BMW 740Li. On this one she toned it down a lot, her design work has been keptto the interior trim so you can now find vibrant artwork on all the panelsthat would normally be finished in wood paneling, or, on the cars who’s owners have good taste, brushed aluminum orpiano black paneling. Instead of becoming a museum piece, this BMW Art Car will actually end up in the hands of a private collector or company.

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The plan for this BMW, that’s seen other extras added to make it a little more special than the showroom 740Li, is to auction it off for charity. This BMW also has a special silver exterior paint job, 20-inch wheels, off-white full-grain leather with black woven stitching and piping and a white Alcantara headliner, so added to the Ndebele art it will be something quite special. My art has taken me all over the world and I have seen many places," said the artist. "I have painted many walls and objects and my work is in many museums but I am still Esther Mahlangu from Mpumalanga in South Africa. My heart was full of joy when BMW asked me again to paint for them," says Esther.

Back in 2011, the admittedly more collectible BMW M1 Art Car fetched a rather sizeable $770,000 when it went under the hammer at the Monterey Car Week's Concours d'Elegance. Money raised from the auction at the Frieze Art Fair in London will benefit The Art Room, a project that supports childhood development.