Bag Factory Artists’ Studios in association with Strauss & Co. Education Fine Art Auctioneers
announce the prestigious artist development


“Since its inception, this award has helped the winners launch their careers and really start making a name for themselves. This award is an important part of Strauss & Co.’s ongoing and substantial commitment to young talent in southern Africa – and is a powerful example of the company’s investment in the art of the future.” - Susie Goodman, Executive Director, Strauss&Co. Fine Art Auctioneers

The 2023 call for entries is open to artists based in the following countries:

Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Cassirer Welz Award recognises excellence in emerging artists under the following criteria:

  • Under age 35
  • Not represented by a commercial gallery
  • Currently working in any contemporary visual art medium, who will benefit from a period of intense studio time and support to develop new work for a solo exhibition
  • Not studying or enrolled into any academic institution.

Residency dates are April - June 2023 or May – July 2023, should the Award winner be a non-South African, as we may experience delays in the issuing of travel visas to South Africa.

The winner of the award will receive:

  • A 3-month residency at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg including accommodation and a studio at the Bag Factory (please note visa costs and travel insurance are NOT included and will be for the artist’s own expense).
  • Contribution towards the artist’s residency stipend, materials, and exhibition costs.
  • The opportunity to showcase new work produced during the residency in a solo exhibition at the Bag Factory.
  • An individualised programme of mentoring and professional development opportunities.
  • Curatorial and pastoral support from the Bag Factory’s staff.
  • Through the exchange of ideas, mentorship and skills development, the artist has an opportunity for substantial creative and professional growth.
  • Costs to transport artworks back to the artist’s home country are NOT included and will be for the artist’s own expense.

Important dates:

  • Deadline for entries: Friday, 10 February 2023, 23H59pm (SAST)
  • The winner of the award will be announced at the end of March 2023.
  • Residency Dates: April 2023 – June 2023 (South African nationals and residents) and/or May – July 2023, as we may experience delays in the issuing of travel visas to South Africa. Candidates should consider their availability during the above timelines.
  • Exhibition dates: June/July 2023

The Artist is expected to:

  • Arrive on time and stay for the full programme period (3 months). The programme duration and dates are not negotiable.
  • Work from the Bag Factory, interacting with Bag Factory and local artists, taking Covid-19 social distancing protocols into consideration (where and when applicable).
  • Participate in the Bag Factory’s community ethos of learning and sharing through exchange.
  • Produce new and exciting work for a solo show at the Bag Factory.
  • Participate in marketing and PR activities facilitated by the Bag Factory.
  • Complete a written report on the programme on completion of the residency.
  • Donate an artwork to the Bag Factory at the end of the residency to support creative programmes for future beneficiaries.


What must Applicants submit?

A SINGLE PDF document, no more than 10MB in size including the following information:

  • A representative portfolio of work produced in the past five years of at least 20 works.
  • An exhibition outline/project outline, indicating what you will be working towards during your residency. Remember to also please include a timeline for your planned project.
  • A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae with full names, references, addresses and contact numbers.
  • A brief letter of motivation, not more than one A4 page long, outlining reasons for wishing to join the programme and why specifically you wish to come to the Bag Factory.

*Incomplete applications will NOT be reviewed. 

TO APPLY, EMAIL: (with: 2023 Cassirer Welz Award as the subject heading).



The award is adjudicated by representatives from the Bag Factory and studio artists, alongside the  Strauss & Co. selection committee team and industry specialists.

Shortlisted candidates ONLY will be contacted for a virtual interview by Monday, 13th March – Friday, 17th March 2023. If you have not heard from us by this date please consider your application unsuccessful.