Bag Factory 30 Years; So Far, The Future 

01 MAY - 19 JUN 2021 

The Bag Factory is excited to announce 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 our history and legacy as a non-profit contemporary visual arts organisation by looking through our archives and highlighting our 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 our creative programme, we make ambitious and innovative projects accessible to a wide audience by creating synergy between our exhibitions, residencies, and artist development activities.

More than 80 works dating from 1991 to the present are drawn from the Bag Factory’s collection of artworks bestowed to us over the years by previous studio artists, award recipients, and visiting artists who have participated in our internationally renowned artist in residence programme. 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 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 our vision for the future. As the new owners of the building at 10 Mahlathini Street, Newtown that we have called home since 1991, we now have the opportunity to revitalise our building and programme facilities to provide a space that will continue to encourage innovation and experimentation for the next generation of artists.

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.

 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)

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 till 19 June 2021.

Opening times:

Tues-Fri: 09:00-16:00
Sat: 09:00-13:00