Exhibition honors world-renowned artist Dr Esther Mahlangu

Reading Time: 2 minutes

An art exhibition featuring renowned artist Dr Esther Mahlangu’s work has been launched at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town.

The exhibition is titled: Then I knew I was good at painting: Esther Mahlangu, a retrospective.

It covers her over 50-year-long career and her rise as a contemporary artist with global acclaim.

The exhibition will be open to the South African public until August of this year. It will then begin its global tour.

Through the language of colour and form, the exhibition charts Dr Esther Mahlangu’s contribution to contemporary art, spanning over seven decades. More than 100 artworks have been loaned from international collections, carefully curated alongside historic photographs and a short film.

Included in the exhibition is Mahlangu’s BMW 525i Art Car, which makes its historic return to South Africa for the first time in more than 30 years.

The retrospective pays homage to her unique approach to art, which intersects African cultures with modernity and the contemporary.

Dr Esther Mahlangu says, “You know what our mothers, our grandmothers, and all those that have passed have taught us, and I was using the chicken feathers to dip them in and paint, and then I would be my own strongest critic; they would also come to check and correct my work.

Exhibition Curator Nontombeka Ntombela says that the exhibition celebrates Mahlangu’s voice, pioneering spirit, and creativity.

The exhibition is a landmark achievement for South African art.

The acting CEO of Iziko Museums of South Africa, Bongani Ndhlovu, says it recognises Mahlangu as one of the few South African artists who have had the opportunity to present a retrospective exhibition in world-renowned museums.

“We are very excited to launch this exhibition of Mama Esther Mahlangu. Her exhibition speaks to the project we have to reimagine our galleries. This exhibition demonstrates to Africans and to the world that art has been shaping our identity, but not only that, but our project is to reaffirm African excellence, and through this project we get that affirmation.”

The celebration of the life and art of Dr Esther Mahlangu will be open to the general public at the Iziko South African National until mid-August.

Art exhibition honors world-renowned visual artist Esther Mahlangu: