25: A Contemporary Art Auction will be taking place at the Absa Art Gallery on 17 November, in celebration of the Bag Factory’s 25th anniversary
Founded in 1991, the Bag Factory was one of the first communal studio spaces in South Africa. Built out of the dream for artists from different backgrounds to be able to work together, the Bag Factory is a community that continuously supports and builds on its ethos of ‘the community studio space where artists practice is held in the highest regard and experimentation is encouraged.’ 25: A Contemporary Art Auction is a celebration of the past 25 years, while acquiring funding for the future.
‘Over 25 years, these foundations have been strengthened by the artists and staff who have poured their passion and efforts into the community and ethos of the space,’ says Sara Hallatt, director of the Bag Factory.
‘In recent years, the Bag Factory has worked hard to encourage a younger community of artists to engage in our programming, ensuring that the life-blood of the space – interaction and development – continues to pump.’
In the past two and a half decades, the Bag Factory has played host to a number of South Africa’s top artists, such as Helen Sebidi, Deborah Bell, Sam Nhlengethwa, Penny Siopsis, Benon Lutaaya, Blessing Ngobeni, and numerous others.
The Bag Factory has created an international following and a consistent space for art loving members of the public to experience outstanding work. ‘While many things have changed over the last 25 years, some have stayed the same,’ says Hallatt. ‘Artists David Koloane and Pat Mautloa, two of the original residents, still have studio space at the Bag Factory; the hessian bag factory that gave the organisation its name still houses the studios; and the creative community ethos remains in place. All this plays an integral role in the identity of the organisation and contribute to its longevity.’
Contemporary Art Auction
The public auction was in partnership with Absa and Strauss & Co, entitled 25: A Contemporary Art Auction, and took place on 17 November at the Absa Gallery. The auction aimed to raise a significant amount of capital to be used to initiate the Bag Factory’s large scale renovation programme, which will be done by architectural firm PGMA. It is estimated that this project will take between five to eight years to complete, with the renovations being done in phases, matched by phases of fundraising.
‘The intention is to upgrade the studios and their facilities as well as extending the Bag Factory’s studio offering and support its programming,’ says Hallatt. Through the auction, the organisation hopes to raise R1 000 000 of the R6 000 000 needed to complete the renovation project.
November and December are full of activities for the Bag Factory, with a master class in live drawing with Diana Hyslop tha took place on 15 and 16 November at the Bag Factory – the class was open to artists; the public will be able to attend In Conversations with Artists on 3 December at 14:00 at the Bag Factory; they will also host a master class in sculpture with Usha Seejarim on 28 to 30 November, as well as a children’s puppet making workshop on 8 and 9 December. A special closing event will take place at the Bag Factory on 10 December 2016.