10 February 2023 23:59 SAST

Opportunity Description

Bag Factory Artists’ Studios in association with Strauss & Co. Education Fine Art Auctioneers announce the prestigious artist development 2023 CASSIRER WELZ AWARD. Call for entries now open.

“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.

Since its inception, the Cassirer Welz Award’s focus has been on recognising artistic excellence, the creative practice, the importance of focused supportive spaces and presentation platforms required by emerging artists.

The Open Call for Applications is open to artists under the following criteria:

  • Applicant must be under the age of 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.

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.

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.

How to Apply

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: submissions@bagfactoryart.org.za (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, 13 th March – Friday, 17th March 2023. If you have not heard from us by this date please consider your application unsuccessful.