As it had done in both 1989 and 1990, BMW commissioned two Art Cars in 1991 — but while Penck was busy lending his take on the Z1, South African artist Esther Mahlangu was given the honor of painting a 5 Series, and becoming the first female artist to craft a BMW Art Car.
Like Nelson’s M3 project in 1989, Mahungu transformed her 5 Series into an interpretation of traditional art — this time, the pattern was inspired by the paintings produced by the African Ndebele people.
“Ndebele art has, in an entirely natural way, something slightly formal yet very majestic about it,” Mahlangu remarked. “Through my work, I have added the idea of movement.”
At first glance, Mahlangu’s car seems quite traditional — but closer examination of the pattern reveals the subtext of motion. The size of the shapes and patterns applied to the 525i start small towards the nose of the car, and grow continuously in size as they approach the rear.
Perhaps most impressive was Mahlangu’s work ethic. After painting a door panel from another car to get a feel for her new medium, she finished her design within the span of a single week.
Source: Andrew Peterson "Mobile Masterpieces: The History of BMW's Art Cars" - www.automobilemag.com