Wezile Harmans: Do Not Trust the Borders

29 JAN - 25 FEB 2022

The Bag Factory is pleased to present DO NOT TRUST THE BORDERS a solo exhibition of new work by Wezile Harmans. 

This exhibition interrogates the migration policies that have resulted in the dehumanization of certain bodies through the colonial visa application processes. The intimidating buildings that houses these daunting processes continuously reinforces the invisible system of ‘othering’ by acknowledging those who ‘belong’ while alienating those that the system has made unseen. In many circumstances the individuals that are meant to make such processes as humane as possible are the gate keepers of such ‘borders’. The immigration processes strips all corners of one’s humanity, identity and dignity. There is a constant reminder that reinforces the idea that home is not where you are currently at if at all, home is nowhere.

This body of work, investigates the concept of displacement and dispossession. These very terms seem to be experiences of those who have been kept out due to physical and psychological borders which surrounds them. Harmans explores how the creation of a ‘border’ reproduces and strengthens the negative narratives that exist amongst people and their geographical borders. When one has to move from one border to the next there is a constant need to perform for the access to different trajectory. The individual who follows this path has to face constant interrogation at the hands of existing power dynamics funded by countries that have accumulated this wealth.

The mediums and materials have been selected as an exploration of caution. As an attempt to initiate conversations around healing. How does one drawback to their being once they have suffered immensely. How do you reinvent yourself once trauma and travel has clothed you? How do equip these individuals to engage deeply on matters of social change and their lived experiences of other on the other side.

Curated by Boitumelo Makousu


Wezile Harmans  (b.1990, Port Elizabeth) is an art practitioner whose interdisciplinary practice encompasses performance, film, installation as a tool for social change. His work confronts prejudices and advocates against social inequality and creates a platform for critical self-reflexivity within unwelcoming spaces. Wezile’s work is influenced by how things have come to existence, as well as motivations behind certain movements, reactions, human behaviours and mostly how these become symbols. Wezile’s noted international projects includes video performance with LEAD Project and LSE Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, M1/M2 Highway Billboard Feature by Centre for Less good ideas, A Film by Human Rights Defender Hub Artivism and University of York (CAHR), An acquisition of works by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum and a collection by Art Bank South Africa.

Wezile is a 2019 David Koloane award recipient, Arts & Culture Trust Finalist Recipient for 2020. His body of work has been witnessed across the country including at Iziko National Gallery (SA), Norval Foundation, FNB Art Joburg, Latitudes Art Fair, South African State Theatre, Bag Factory Artists' Studios, Hangar(Portugal), National Arts Festival Main program and PIAD. Mgibe has participated in number of residencies including SIRA residency (Madagascar), OpenLab residency (Karoo/Bloemfontein), Virtual Worlding Residency exchange (Canada/RSA), BODYLAND residency (Hogsback).

Exhibition opening
Sat 29 JAN 2022, 11am-2pm

Artist & curator walkabout
Sat 12 FEB 2022, 11am

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