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On 1st March, internationally renowned artist, Esther Mahlangu, will join Dr Makaziwe Mandela, and invited guests to unveil an important collection of artworks inspired by Mr Nelson Mandela at The Melrose Gallery in Johannesburg.

Esther created this important body of work, in 2004, and says that it remains one of the most rewarding collaborations of her long and illustrious career. The paintings were created by embellishing prints of drawings created by Mr Mandela in 2001 in her own style.

Dr Makaziwe Mandela, Mr Mandela’s eldest daughter, and CEO of The House of Mandela, says ‘we are proud to be joining Mam Esther Mahlangu to unveil her exquisite collection for the first time. We are certain that these artworks will work to contribute to and celebrate my father’s legacy at a time in which the world desperately need his message of peace, love and respect for all’.


Esther celebrated her 81st birthday in November 2016 ending off a very busy and exciting year with collaborations with BMW at the Frieze Contemporary Fair in London, John Legend and Belvedere Vodka and is currently exhibiting at the British Museum as part of the ‘South Africa – Art of a Nation’ exhibition.

Esther has collaborated and exhibited with many of the most renowned artists in the world. In 1991, she was invited to be the 12th artist to paint a BMW as part of the Art Car Collection. Thereby becoming the first woman and first African to do so, joining an illustrious list of artists who participated in this project including Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Frank Stella amongst others.

Esther’s career has been filled with achievements including her receipt of the order of Ikhamanga from the President of South Africa, a collaboration with American Artist Sol LeWitt at the 5th Biennale in Lyon France in 2000, commission by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for two major works for their permanent collection in 2014 and numerous others.

Born on 11 November 1935, Esther lives in the Mabokho village of Weltevrede (Afrikaans for ‘well satisfied’) in the KwaMahlanga district in Mpumalanga Province.

Esther’s contribution to South African contemporary art and the impression that she has left on so many people globally, as she travels adorned in the beautiful traditional Ndebele dress, makes her a national treasure.

The exhibition will also include several other paintings that have been recently created by Esther Mahlangu. Collector’s will be offered the valuable opportunity to acquire a set of fine limited edition prints reproduced from her Mandela inspired artworks, that have been signed by Esther and come presented in a special collector’s edition box with a certificate of authenticity signed by Dr Makaziwe Mandela.

The exhibition will open to the public on Thursday 2 March and will run until 2 April 2017 at The Melrose Gallery, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.  Gallery hours: Monday – Friday 09h00-18h00, Sat and Sun 10h00-17h00. For more information, the Gallery can be contacted at 083 777 6644 or on Images for publication are available on request. More information on or visit The Melrose Gallery’s Facebook page. 

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