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Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future

The Bag Factory announces its 30th anniversary exhibition, Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future, presented in partnership with FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg.

The Bag Factory is celebrating three decades of their history and legacy as a non-profit contemporary visual arts organisation by looking through the archives and highlighting their unique, long-standing relationship with artists. Initially founded in 1991 by Dr David Koloane, British philanthropist Robert Loder, and arts administrator Sandra Burnett, with support from artists like Kagiso Patrick Mautloa, Sam Nhlengethwa and many others, the Bag Factory is an inclusive and interactive studio space for a cross-generational community of practicing visual artists where the exchange of ideas is encouraged and stimulated. Through their creative programme, the Bag Factory makes ambitious and innovative projects accessible to a wide audience by creating synergy between their exhibitions, residencies, and artist development activities.

  • Kay Hassan, Patrick Mautloa, Basil Baqwa
  • Helen Sebidi
  • Penny Siopis
  • Kagiso Patrick Mautloa, Sam Nhlengethwa, Sandra Burnett, David Koloane
  • Mark Attwood, Artists' Press, Paul Emmanuel, Tim Fold
  • Bag Factory Nkoali Nawa, Sharlene Khan, Edward Mumba

     More than 80 works dating from 1991 to the present are drawn from the Bag Factory’s collection of artworks bestowed to them over the years by previous studio artists, award recipients, and visiting artists who have participated in their internationally renowned artist in residence programmes. The Bag Factory’s crucial role for the arts in South Africa is confirmed by their long list of celebrated alumni who have gone on to develop international and prize-winning careers. They include Bag Factory co-founder the late David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa, Kagiso Patrick Mautloa, Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi, Penny Siopis, Tracey Rose, Thenjiwe Nkosi, Lady Skollie, and Blessing Ngobeni to name a few. The exhibition highlights the Bag Factory’s unique artistic programme which combines art-making with cultural debate and art exhibitions, thereby creating a fertile international environment for experimentation, innovation, and critical dialogue between creatives in South Africa and the rest of the world.
     At the same time, the Bag Factory has its sights set on a vision for the future. As the new owners of the building at 10 Mahlathini Street, Newtown that they have called home since 1991, The Bag Factory now has the opportunity to revitalise their building and programme facilities to provide a space that will continue to encourage innovation and experimentation for the next generation of artists.

  • Bag Factory outside
  • Bag Factory
  • Akuzuru, Billy Mandindi
  • Random Access panel discussion

‘We are extremely grateful to the network of artists, patrons, and friends that have contributed generously to the Bag Factory throughout the years. We look forward to celebrating our story and the many alumni artists who actively continue to support our organisation and the work that we do. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we are planning a scaled down opening accompanied by a series of intimate engagements throughout the exhibition. We hope you can join us on one of these days for an open and informative conversation.’

Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future exhibition details:

Exhibition Opening: Saturday, 1 May 2021
Time slots available with limited capacity of 15 people per time slot:
10:00 – 11:00 – VIP preview (invitation only)
11:00 – 12:00
12:00 – 13:00
Please RSVP to to reserve your place.

Saturday walkabouts scheduled for the following dates:
15 May, 10:00 – 11:00
29 May, 10:00 – 11:00
05 June, 10:00 – 11:00
19 June, 10:00 – 11:00
There is a limited capacity of 15 people per walkabout. Please RSVP to to reserve your place.

The exhibition runs from 1 May to 19 June 2021
Opening times:
Tues-Fri: 09:00 – 16:00
Sat: 09:00 – 13:00

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