Legendary Ndebele Artist Esther Mahlangu Honoured With Street Mural In New York City

South African Legendary Ndebele artist, Esther Mahlangu has been honoured with a street mural spanning across two lanes on Franklin Street and West Broadway in Tribeca, New York City. The artwork dedicated to her outstanding Ndebele-inspired paintings is named 'Xola' which means Stay in Peace.

The painting features Ndebele symbols designed by New York artist Imani Shanklin Roberts; who had this to say in an Instagram post:
"When I first came to New York to attend @prattinstitute in 2009 I didn't imagine that this would be a city I would have a child in, create lasting memories in, let alone have success in my artistry in. Creating a mural in honor of an artist I've known all my life, in a city that isn't welcoming to many, feels unreal. It feels like an aligning moment many of us have when the universe cocreates with us and is in agreement with our path. To you NYC, I present Xola, (Stay in Peace) -- ((A South African Name I named my daughter--* Alignment*))) a piece that is representative of a feminine energy force that is all encompassing, inclusive and awe-inspiring. Xola welcomes you to charge and open your divine feminine here amidst all that tries to stand against you. This is my form of resistance and protest - my expression #blessed."
Esther Mahlangu with New York artist, Iman Shanklin Roberts

President of South African Tourism's Americas Hub,Bangu Masisi, also expressed at the official unveiling last week,"Esther Mahlangu is renowned the world over for her unique, colorful and geometric paintings which have inspired international brands and artists of many backgrounds across the globe. Her work has also done an amazing job of showcasing our cultures and will provide New Yorkers this summer with a sight of South Africa's vibrant Ndebele culture."

The project is a part of a tourism partnership between South African Tourism‘s US office, South African Airways and a communal bicycle platform called Citi Bike. 

The iconic artist is known for her bold large-scale colourful contemporary paintings that are inspired by her Ndebele heritage.

September is Heritage Month in South Africa, this international recognition couldn't have come at a better time; acknowledging a living custodian of her culture. Gogo Esther Mahlangu as she's affectionately also features on the September issue of one of South Africa's leading publications, Destiny Magazine. 

She recently teamed up with BMW and American musician, John Legend to paint unique interior trims for the BMW 7-series.

Mahlangu has been painting Ndebele artworks for over 70 years.

Photo Credit: SA Tourism 
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