Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, in partnership with Strauss & Co Fine Art Auctioneers, is announces the winner of the 2021 Cassirer Welz Award: multi-talented artist Samuel Nnorom.
He holds a BAed (sculpture major) from the University of Jos and currently concluding an MFA in sculpture from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Samuel was the 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. Samuel 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.
The selection jury, comprised of Bag Factory programmes manager Gcotyelwa Mashiqa, communications manager Zanele Kumalo, Strauss executive director Susie Goodman and senior art specialist Wilhelm van Rensburg, who unanimously agreed that Samuel’s multi-media sculptures are exceptional and that he will benefit hugely from the award for substantial creative and professional growth.
As the winner of the 2021 Cassirer Welz Award, Samuel receives a ten-week residency at the Bag Factory from January 2022 – March 2022 and R 25,000 towards the artist’s residency stipend, materials, and production costs. The residency culminates in a solo exhibition of newly created work at the Bag Factory opening on March 2022.
Previous winners include artists such as Blessing Ngobeni, Nompumelelo Ngoma, Tshepo Mosopa, Asanda Kupa, Thato Nhlapho, Richard “Specs” Ndimande and Keneilwe Mokoena.
The Cassirer Welz Award, named after South African auctioneers Reinhold Cassirer and Stephan Welz, is an annual award presented by the Bag Factory in partnership with Strauss Education to a South African-based visual artist working in the mediums of painting, photography, drawing, or sculpture. Only artists under the age of 35 and not represented by a commercial gallery are eligible. Founded in 2011 in partnership with Nadine Gordimer, Strauss Education pledged to support the award after her passing in 2014.