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Bulumko Mbete wins 2023 Cassirer Welz Award Article Image

Bulumko Mbete wins 2023 Cassirer Welz Award

Posted on 5 April 2023

Bag Factory Artists' Studios in association with Strauss & Co Education and Fine Art Auctioneers, are proud to announce Bulumko Mbete as the winner of the 12th Edition of the prestigious Cassirer Welz award at Strauss & Co.

The selection jury, comprised of Bag Factory director Maria Fidel Regueros, Zinhle Zwane and young curator and researcher Boitumelo Makousu, Strauss & Co, Executive Director Susie Goodman, and Senior Art Specialist Wilhelm van Rensburg, who unanimously agreed that Bulumko Mbete, is an exceptional multifaceted artist, whose interest in materiality; through the use of textile, beading, natural dyeing and weaving to communicate generational traditions and gestures of love, will benefit from the opportunity for substantial creative and professional growth.

The award was founded in 2011 by the late Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer in celebration of her husband Reinhold Cassirer's love of the arts. It has grown into a prestigious visual art award known for locating and acknowledging excellence in emerging local artists. After the passing of Stephan Welz, the following year, the Reinhold Cassirer Award was renamed the Cassirer Welz Award as a fitting tribute to the two men who contributed so much to the South African art world.

Through this long-term partnership with Strauss Education, the Cassirer Welz Award has helped the winners launch their careers and make a name for themselves within the South Africa art market. As the award passes its eleventh -year milestone, Strauss Education have not wavered in their commitment to supporting the award even during times of unprecedented uncertainty. Strauss & Co. recognises the importance of continuing the legacy of this prestigious development award for emerging artists.

Bulumko Mbete_Scotland to Tsomo (part of Memory as Location), 2021, Edition of 5, Digital print on cotton, Dimensions variable

Since its inception the award has grown in scope, with the 2023 call for entries including proposals by artists based in the following countries, some of which also form part of the Triangle Network: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Through the long-standing support of Strauss & Co and funding from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), as the winner of the 2023 Cassirer Welz Award, Bulumko Mbete receives an intensive 3-month studio-based residency at the Bag Factory from 11 April - 10 June 2023 and funds towards a stipend, materials and production costs. The residency will culminate in a solo exhibition of newly created work at the Bag Factory with a public opening in July 2023.

Now in its twelfth year, the award has given emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their talents to a broader audience. "Since its inception this award has seen the winners launch their careers and really start making a name for themselves within the South Africa art market," says Susie.

Previous winners include artists such as Blessing Ngobeni, Nompumelelo Ngoma, Tshepo Mosopa, Asanda Kupa, Thato Nhlapho, Richard "Specs" Ndimande, Keneilwe Mokoena and Levy Pooe.


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