Sizwe Sama: What Makes Your Heart Fly

5 - 25 March 2022

The Bag Factory is pleased to present WHAT MAKES YOUR HEART FLY a solo exhibition by Sizwe Sama 

Sizwe Sama's first solo exhibition What Makes Your Heart Fly is an invitation to celebrate the little things that lead to a sense of fulfilment. Declaring that "you can't pour from an empty cup", the artist emphasises the importance of making happiness a daily choice and a personal investment. For Sizwe, happiness is closely related to his friends, family members and the LGBTQI+ community, which he honours by depicting them in his compositions.

The vibrant colours and various patterns in his works make us question just how far we are willing to go in order to attain this feeling of lightness. The title of the show – What Makes Your Heart Fly? – is a reference to this feeling and derives directly from the recurring bird motifs (flamingos, peacocks and flying feathers) presented within his compositions. This body of work displays sophisticated works of bricolage, these artworks are composed of fabric cut-outs from Seshweshwe, brocade, linen, and wax fabric. These materials are a conscious selection from which Sizwe draws a personal experience. It was Sizwe's mother who taught him how to stitch his own clothes, a technique through which he got to learn about the strength and durability of the materials he uses.

Playfully drawing on this legacy, Sizwe's work is characterised by the visibility of its process of cutting and stitching together the layers of fabric. Making visible the long, delicate, and strategic technique that goes into assembling these pieces. Sizwe draws our attention to the amount of time and energy that we put into the things we do and invites us to find our own ways "to fill our cups". Happiness, as he sees it, and how the artworks here on display suggest, is not a destination, but an ongoing pursuit – a constant stitching together of the little things.

Curated by Zannele Libambo


Sizwe Sama (B.1986, Pietermaritzburg) has exhibited his works in Johannesburg, Lisbon and Antwerp, as well as, in online fairs under Guns & Rain such as FNB Art Joburg 2020, African Galleries Now 2020 & 2021 and Investec Cape Town Art Fair Digital Event 2021. His work sits in multiple international and local collections, including the AMAWAL (Spain) and ARAK (Qatar) and Africa First Collections

He has exhibited in the following shows; 2021 Investec Cape Town Art Fair Digital Event, 2021 Threads, Duende Art Projects, Antwerp, Belgium. 2021 African Galleries Now, Artsy, with Guns and Rain. 2021 MOVART: New era for Humanity, Lisbon. 2021 Eclectica Contemporary 11:1, Cape Town. 2021 Guns and Rain in collaboration with Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Meeting Places. 2021 Untitled 8:99, 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town. 2020 FNB Art Joburg, online. 2020 African Galleries Now, Artsy, with Guns and Rain. 2020 Guns and Rain Fresh Voices, online

Exhibition opening
Sat 5 March 2022, 11am-2pm

Artist & curator walkabout
Sat 19 March 2022, 11am

Click on image below to view 3D exhibition.

This exhibition is supported by African Artists' Foundation as phase one of the 2022 Young/Unframed programme.