‘Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future’ at FADA Gallery

The Bag Factory has announced their 30th-anniversary exhibition, ‘Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future’, presented in partnership with the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) Gallery, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Bag Factory is celebrating three decades of its history and legacy as a non-profit contemporary visual arts organisation by looking through its archives and highlighting its 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 practising visual artists where the exchange of ideas is encouraged and stimulated. Through its creative programme, they make ambitious and innovative projects accessible to a wide audience by creating synergy between their exhibitions, residencies, and artist development activities.

Installation view of 'Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future' at FADA Gallery. Courtesy of Bag Factory.Installation view of ‘Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future’ at FADA Gallery. All images courtesy of Bag Factory.

More than 80 works dating from 1991 to the present are drawn from the Bag Factory’s collection of artworks bestowed over the years by previous studio artists, award recipients, and visiting artists who have participated in their internationally renowned artist-in-residence programme. The Bag Factory’s crucial role in the arts in South Africa is confirmed by its long list of celebrated alumni who have gone on to develop international and prize-winning careers. They include their 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.

Installation view of 'Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future' at FADA Gallery. Courtesy of Bag Factory.Installation view of ‘Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future’ at FADA Gallery.

At the same time, the Bag Factory has its sights set on a vision for the future. As the new owners of the building at 10 Mahlathini Street, Newtown, that they have called home since 1991. They now have the opportunity to revitalise the building and programme facilities to provide a space that will continue to encourage innovation and experimentation for the next generation of artists.

‘Bag Factory 30 Years: So Far, The Future’ will be on view at the FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, from the 1st of May until the 19th of June 2021.