About Us

The Bag Factory is a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation in Newtown, Johannesburg. With a pioneering 32-year history of providing a supportive infrastructure, we are committed to investing in the long-term development of artists, preparing them to confidently make a significant new step in their professional career. We provide studios to a cross-generational community of Johannesburg based artists; we present exhibitions showcasing new work by emerging artists to the wider public; and we host a prestigious international artist and curator residency programme. We also offer artist and curatorial skills development workshops, our annual Young Womxn Studio Bursary, and the prestigious David Koloane Award and Cassirer Welz Award.

The Bag Factory’s artistic programme is unique in combining 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. All our programmes are accompanied by a public programme that encourages greater understanding of contemporary visual art and stimulates interaction between audiences and artists. We are affiliated with the international Triangle Network.

The Bag Factory’s crucial role for the arts in South Africa is confirmed by our long list of celebrated alumni who have gone on to develop international and prize-winning careers. They include our co-founder David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa, Kagiso Patrick Mautloa, Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi, Bongi Dhlomo-Mautloa, as well as Penny Siopis, Tracey Rose, Kendell Geers, Gabi Ngcobo, Lady Skollie, Blessing Ngobeni, and Bronwyn Katz. Many of our alumni actively continue to support our organisation and the work that we do.