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This week in Chicago, during EXPO Week, Belvedere Vodka held an event at the Dusable Museum with artist Esther Mahlangu and longtime partner, (RED).
Mahlangu, an 82-year-old South African Artist who creates large-scale, geometric paintings, collaborated with Belvedere to craft a special edition bottle that first launched earlier this month with a John Legend concert at the Apollo in New York. Half of all proceeds go towards (RED), an organization that helps to fight HIV, malaria, and TB. After the debut of the bottle, Mahlangu and the Belvedere team have been traveling around the U.S. offering the incredible opportunity of an art class—to cities like New York, Los Angeles, and now Chicago—where attendees have the chance to learn from and meet Mahlangu.
The artist, a Ndebele woman whose community has been greatly affected by malaria, TB, and HIV, works in a unique way—sitting on the floor with her canvas laid out before her. She applies paint and homemade pigments using chicken feathers. Guests in Chicago at this week’s event were able to both watch the artist in action, and create their own paintings while seated on the ground, just like Mahlangu. Further classes are scheduled for cities like Atlanta, D.C., and more.
“The four symbols are the four powerful values that bond us all in the mission to end HIV/AIDS—unity, change, support and security,” said Mahlangu. “Joining Belvedere(RED) and John Legend to create the special edition (RED) bottle was a unique way for me to contribute to a cause that is dear to my heart.”
Belvedere has been a partner of (RED) for five years. President of Belvedere Vodka Charles Gibb said, “Belvedere is delighted to continue the (BELVEDERE)RED campaign with the help of these passionate artists, who are as dedicated as we are to spreading awareness and being a part of the change to end the transmission of HIV from mother to child. Together, we can Make The Difference.”
CEO of (RED) Deborah Dugan said, “This beautiful collaboration between John Legend and Esther Mahlangu brings artistry and energy to the fight against AIDS. We’re hugely excited to see the striking new (Belvedere)RED bottle become available this fall, and importantly, every single purchase generates money to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS medication in sub-Saharan Africa.”