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ESTHER MAHLANGU FOR KZN (article first published : 2007-08-20)

Internationally renowned artist Esther Mahlangu will unveil five intricate Heritage Blankets at the Heritage Art Exhibition, scheduled to run from September 27 to October 30.

Winner of numerous awards, Esther is an internationally recognised artist who placed 11th in 1991’s Art Car Competition alongside the likes of Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein. Her Ndebele roots and bold, adventurous spirit have catapulted her art into global consciousness as well as into a number of important international collections including The World Bank Collection, BOE Bank, Musče de Arts d’ Afrique et d’Oceanie – Paris.

Recognising her contribution to South Africa and the arts, President Thabo Mbeki presented Esther with The Order of Ikhamanga – Silver Award in 2006. In addition to this, she is to receive The Heritage Arts Award at the launch of The Heritage Festival in recognition for her valuable contribution to the preservation of our cultural heritage via the arts.

Esther has held more than 40 exhibitions in countries around the globe, including France, The Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland Australia, Mexico, Germany, US and even Finland to name a few. However, South Africa is and always will be her home. Born in Weltevrede, a small village in Mpumalanga Province in 1935, she began painting at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped since.

Esther Mahlangu is one of South Africa’s most internationally recognised artists and, although over 70 years of age, she spends most of the year travelling around the world.

She has decided to take six months’ break from her busy schedule to produce five heritage-inspired beaded blankets specifically for The Heritage Arts Festival in KZN. The Heritage theme attracted her attention and she has agreed to accompany the works and to attend the launch of the festival at The Kizo Art Gallery at Gateway on September 26.

She has expressed much excitement over the concept and production of the intricately-beaded blankets, each inspired by a specific South African culture and measuring 1m x 1,5m. True to her own culture and the South African spirit, Esther always wears her traditional Ndebele attire when she executes commissions like these and has attracted attention from crowds across the globe.

The blankets and several of Esther’s original paintings will be on exhibition at The Kizo Art Gallery. The Exhibition is part of the Heritage Arts Festival organised by Kizo – one of KwaZulu-Natal’s top art galleries and consultants. The festival takes place at Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Umhlanga. Visitors to the festival can expect to see over 60 artists taking part in the exhibition, including Esther and fellow luminaries such as Anthony Wakaba Mutheki, Henk Vos, Andrew Verster, Paul Lawrenson and many more.

The festival launches on September 26 and continues throughout the month of October, 2007. In addition to this groundbreaking exhibition, the festival will feature workshops, artists and crafters at work around Gateway, live musical performances, and opportunities for visitors to meet artists and even do some painting and crafting themselves.

More details on www.kizo.co.za or contact Max Henderson on 082 7354264 or Jodi on 031 566 4324.




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