Esther Mahlangu Gets Her Own Boulevard in the Big Apple

by Benice BurgerSeptember 20, 2017

New Yorkers are getting their turn to bask in the bold colours and graphics of legendary Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu, who has just been honoured with a mural dedicated to her work in the Big Apple.

The tribute was painted in Tribeca by New York-based artist Imani Shanklin Roberts. Crossing Franklin Street and West Broadway’s Citi Bike station, the painting spans a two-lane road and features Ndebele symbols that Shanklin Roberts says are a celebration of feminine energy.

“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 amid all that tries to stand against you. This is my form of resistance and protest — my expression,” Shanklin Roberts said on Instagram.

The mural is part of a tourism partnership between South African Tourism’s US office, South African Airways (SAA) and bicycle-sharing platform Citi Bike, and also includes branded bikes and bicycle docking platforms.

“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,” Bangu Masisi, president of South African Tourism’s Americas Hub, said at the official unveiling last week.


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Benice Burger