BMW Uncovered the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA: A Fusion of Art, Technology, and Tradition

In association with E Ink and South African artist Esther Mahlangu.

BMW debuted its 12th art car, the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, at the recent Frieze Art Fair in Los Angeles. This vehicle combines art and technology into one avant-garde piece. The latest color-changing technology created by BMW in association with E Ink is displayed in this vehicle, along with the creative abilities of South African artist Esther Mahlangu.

The exterior of the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is composed of electronically animated film segments that recreate the vivid colors and geometric patterns that are characteristic of Mahlangu. With the use of millions of microcapsules in the E Ink film, this technology—which is akin to that of an e-book screen—allows the car’s appearance to be dynamically altered with an electric charge. The end product is a car that stands for automotive innovation and functions as the artist’s moving canvas.

Having made her first impression on the BMW Art Car series in 1991 with a BMW 525i that was recently on display in a joint exhibition with the Iziko Museums of South Africa, Mahlangu, who is well-known for her Ndebele-inspired artwork, has done so once more.

As a tribute to Mahlangu’s groundbreaking work and her status as the first African artist and woman to design a BMW art car, the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is named after Mahlangu’s first son and represents a fusion of tradition and the future.

The car’s debut at Frieze Los Angeles honors BMW’s continuous dedication to international cultural exchange. With an amazing sound design by Renzo Vitale that combines BMW’s distinctive sound character with aspects of Ndebele culture, the car becomes an auditory and visual spectacle.

Notably, the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA emphasizes even more the idea that a car is a form of self- and cultural expression rather than just a means of transportation.