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Bag Factory

– mainly black artists, who at that stage, had very little access to networks and resources in order to build their careers. It was one of the first collective studio spaces for visual artists in South Africa and has held it’s downtown ground in the rapidly evolving metropolis of Johannesburg by rising daringly to the moment’s headline. Since its inception the Bag Factory has focused on developing a programme that stands for inclusion and diversity, built on an idea of open access. Being strategically situated on the Western edge of the city between the Oriental Plaza and the Newtown Cultural Precinct, it is also readily accessible to areas surrounding the city, notably Soweto. The building contains 18 studios, as well as a workshop spaces and gallery, and the gritty vitality of its urban context has impacted powerfully on the work of the artists based in the Fordsburg studios. TRIANGLE ARTS TRUST We are part of the Triangle Arts Trust , an international network of artist-led workshops and residencies that encourages the exchange of ideas, artists’ mobility, experimentation and fresh thinking. Over the years, the Bag Factory has provided a vital stomping ground for many well-established South African artists who have been associated with the collective at different moments in its history. From Kendell Geers and Penny Siopis, to Dominic Tshabangu, Deborah Bell, Rookeya Gardee, Verna Jooste, Claudette Schreuders, Stephen Maqashela, Alan Alborough, Ben Arnold, Tamar Mason, Kay Hassan, Fatima Fernandes and Paul Emmanuel, a hugely diverse array of artists, each with his or her own distinctive style and voice, has passed through the corrugated garage doors that open onto to the airy studios within. VISITING ARTISTS PROGRAMME While the initial intention of the studios was to focus on the needs of local artists, the Bag Factory’s vision expanded into the development of an international residency programme, exhibitions of work and educational workshops. The residency programme enables artists from Africa and other continents to spend time working in Johannesburg, and has built for itself a formidable international reputation. Artists from as far afield as Sao Paulo, Nairobi, Zurich, Delhi and Montreal have visited the Bag Factory and hold it in high esteem. Many artists from South Africa have in return visited countries abroad and have benefited from this experience. Apart from producing their own work, visiting artists engage with the local artists resident at the Bag Factory. At the end of their period of residency, they hold open studios and a public exhibition. SKILLS WORKSHOPS With our skills-workshop programme we endeavour to ‘fill the gaps’ in the visual arts sector by running professional workshops for artists, outreach projects for those who lack access to arts-training and audience development workshops. EXHIBITIONS The Bag Factory also holds regular exhibitions in its gallery space. A lively contribution to the Johannesburg art scene, these shows provide a platform for international artists whose work might not otherwise be seen in Johannesburg. The Bag’s commitment to new forms of expression means that they are always open to laboratory-style experiments, which offer artists the opportunity to pioneer unmapped territory, to test their limits and challenge themselves and their audiences. From a wacky site-specific food installations to a live carnival igniting the night streets of Fordsburg, the exhibition programme has always offered viewers a taste of the unexpected. CURATORIAL PROGRAMME In the contemporary art world, the title curator is given to a person who selects and often interprets works of art. In addition to selecting works, directing the layout and hanging of exhibitions, they producing catalogue essays and other supporting content for the exhibition. The aim of our curatorial programme is to carefully select and develop young, up and coming curators by providing them with an opportunity for hands on experience at running exhibitions with the guidance of professional curators. This gives young up-and-coming curators a platform to show off, grow and establish themselves.

10 Mahlatini Street, Fordsburg
2092 Johannesburg
South Africa

Contact Data:

Phone Number: +27 11 834 9181
Fax Number: +27 11 838 6791

Located in: Gauteng