Here's a Look at BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, Tribute to BMW Art Car by Esther Mahlangu

BMW is presenting a fusion of art and innovation at the Frieze Los Angeles art fair.

Enes Kucevic, Enes Kucevic Photography

Art and innovation collide in a new one-of-a-kind work by South African visual artist Esther Mahlangu for BMW.

Showcased at Frieze Los Angeles is the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, which merges color-change technology developed by BMW with Mahlangu's creative language. Named after the artist's first son, segments of film are placed on the vehicle, which allows it to be electronically animated with the use of the technology paper brand, E Ink. Changes occur in the color particles with the application of electric voltages.

“It is fascinating to me to see how modern technology can expand my art and make it accessible to a completely new audience,” said Mahlangu in press materials.

The innovative design was also shaped by sound, composed by Renzo Vitale, the BMW Group's Creative Director, Sound, for the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA. Mahlangu gave the vehicle's accompanying sound mix a personal touch when sequences of her voice were used in the BMW design studio, along with the strokes of her feather paint brushes.

“The BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA honors the history of the BMW brand and continues the story of our global cultural engagement in a unique way. It combines art and design through progressive technology. Here, technology itself becomes art,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design.

In 1991, Mahlangu was the artist behind the BMW Art Car, based on the model BMW 525i, making her the first woman and first African artist to do so. "Her art inspired me years ago, back when the concept of color change on a car was just an idea in my head,” says Stella Clarke, Research Engineer Open Innovations at the BMW Group. "Now, being able to realize this idea, and work with Esther Mahlangu, is absolutely surreal."

At 88, Mahlangu's masterpieces are still carving out the future of design.

Two people observing car parts and wiring during vehicle assembly
Graphics design software interface on a computer screen with a geometric pattern being edited
Car wraps with geometric patterns laid out for application, work equipment in background
Woman in a purple top and black pants standing beside a car with graphic patterns, artwork on the wall behind
Two people standing beside a custom-painted car with geometric art on the walls, reflecting a contemporary style
Two individuals presenting a piece of artwork outside with traditional hut and mural in the background. One is wearing cultural attire
BMW car with a unique geometric pattern displayed in an indoor setting, no people in the image
A car with a geometric pattern design parked inside a modern building
BMW exhibition space with a promotional display for the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, including a monitor with Esther Mahlangu's artwork

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