Cassirer Welz Award 2021

Cassirer Welz Award 2021

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 

Unfortunately due to the increase in COVID infections the Cassirer Welz Award will be hosted on Zoom

The Cassirer Welz Award recognises excellence in emerging artists (under the age of 35 and not represented by a commercial gallery) specialising in sculpture, drawing, and/or painting, who will benefit from a period of intense studio time and support to develop new work for a solo exhibition. 

After celebrating ten exciting and successful years, the Cassirer Welz Award is now open to artists based in any of the following countries where the Bag Factory has an existing network of partner and friend organisations: Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia.  

The winner of the Cassirer Welz Award will receive: 

  • A ten-week residency and studio space at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg. 
  • An opportunity for substantial personal and creative growth through the exchange of ideas and an individualised programme of mentorship.  
  • Significant skills and professional development opportunities. 
  • Curatorial and pastoral support from the Bag Factory staff. 
  • The opportunity to showcase new work produced during the residency in a solo exhibition at the Bag Factory. 
  • Flights to and from Johannesburg and accommodation for the duration of the programme.  
  • A residency stipend of R25 000 towards materials, exhibition costs and related expenses. 

The winner of the 2021 Cassirer Welz Award will be announced on Monday 29 November at Strauss & Co in Johannesburg.


Nthabiseng Kekana is an artist born (1999) in Johannesburg and raised in Alexandra. She is currently living and practicing in Alexandra. Nthabiseng started drawing in her early primary school years and later went to the National school of the Arts, where she majored in Three Dimensional Design. After graduating from NSA she entered the LISOF (fashion Design Institute) #MyFashionCareer bursary competition and came first runner up, she ended up studying for a higher certificate. She aslo later applied to study Digital Media in Design at the University of Johannesburg and currently holds a degree in Digital Media in Design (Multimedia).

After obtaining her degree she began her journey as a full-time artist. She grounds her work in inclusivity and uses a harmonic range of mediums from acrylic, charcoal, pastels, fine-line, natural fibres, mixed media and more to further explore the world’s narrative through her lense. Her work has been exhibited in France and currently is in possession of major collectors all of the world in primarily London and the
United States of America.

Mpumelelo Buthelezi. I was born in the heart of the struggle, in Pimville in Soweto, Johannesburgʼslargest township, a sprawl of formal and informal housing where culturedrummed the heartbeat of resistance.I was born in the year of democracy, 1994. They call us the Born Frees but education didnʼt come free. I taught myself to become a photographer. I did it because I wanted to interpret the time and place I was born into, to tell the untold stories of the communities of my country, to present them as narratives, full lives lived in the margins.My parents had a different dream for me, their born free child. I was sent to study formally and I obtained a Diploma Degree in Engineering at the Central Johannesburg College in 2016 even though I knew I would never become an engineer.

Everyone knew about the famous Market Photo Workshop, home to David Goldblatt and Zanele Muholi, and thatʼs where I studied photojournalism and documentary photography, graduating in 2017, the year that protesting students finally won the first signs of a free education. He has exhibited his work at Market Photo Workshop student Gallery in Johannesburg, Social Art Award in Germany, Transitions Rotterdam FotoFestival in Netherlands, as well as a solo exhibition at WeTilt in Italy, He was on an artist-residency programme with Sir Prof Zanele Muholi (Muholi Productions) and Betive Holdings. He is currently on another virtual artist-residency with Wendy network for arts unchained. He lives and works in Johannesburg.

Xanthè Jackson. Johannesburg-born,Durban based multidisciplinary artist Xanthè Jackson completed a Diploma in Fine Arts from Rhodes University in 2011. After a stint working with interior designers and architects, she started a pop-up shop, META in 2015, selling handmade jewellery and clothing. She was selected as a top ten finalist in the MTN & UJ Emerging Artist Programme and won first prize in the New Now Next Emerging Artist Awards hosted by Galerie Noko.

Jackson is an abstract artist, whose work is process-driven and
detail-oriented. With visual interests invested in texture and exploring the limitations of mediums, resulting in complex abstract works, Jackson aims to deal with human connection, society highlighted by the pandemic, social-scapes and insignificant moments. Through her work, Jackson speaks of loss, connection, time, memory, familiarity, as well as the
unfamiliar, and perhaps even the aberrant.

Samuel Nnorom is a multi-talented artist who seeks to explore several materials. He holds a B.Aed (sculpture major) from the University of Jos and currently concluding an MFA in sculpture from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Nnorom was winner of the national art competition organised by the National Gallery of Art in 2010 and 2012. He also won prizes in the 2016, 2017 and 2019 editions of the Life in My City Art Festival. He was first prize recipient (leatherwork category) of the Icreate Africa 2019.

Nnorom has received invitations to important workshops and group exhibitions, including the international art workshop by IICD at the United States Embassy, Abuja (2019), Young Contemporary 2021, published in an international magazine, UK (zine, issue 11, artist responding to issues) 2021 and recipient of 2022 ROSL and Art House Residency London, and several others. He belongs to the New Nsukka School of Art and is currently exploring Ankara fabric to explore ideas surrounding bubbles while interrogating personal experiences that relate to sociopolitical issues in Africa. 

Join the Event
The Zoom link is no longer available

Date & Time

6:00pm → 7:00pm 29 November 2021


Zoom - Meeting ID: 817 7296 2018 | Password: 431217