Late last year, famed South African artist Esther Mahlangu visited a number of major American cities with a traveling display of her work and hands-on workshops for aspiring artists. It's a great glimpse into her body of work.
Esther Mahlangu is part of the Ndebele community in the Gauteng, located north of Pretoria. The Ndebele, unlike many other tribes in South Africa, have managed to preserve their centuries' old ancestral traditions. Despite being a patriarchal society, artistic heritage is handed down from mother to daughter; as a young woman reaches puberty she withdraws from male society for three months and is taught the ceremonial patterns of Ndebele beadwork—in the nineteenth century this tradition was extended to decorative wall paintings, also executed exclusively by the Ndebele women.
Esther Mahlangu is an important proponent of this tradition. She draws freehand, without first measuring or sketching, using luminous and high-contrast vinyl paints that lend extraordinary vigor to her murals.
Bonus video: a conversation she had about her work: