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.
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 -- photo credit (@ericmtownsend )) THANK YOU!!
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.