About the JCAF Journal

Journal Symposium, 2 December 2023. From left: Bárbara Rousseaux, Helena Chávez Mac Gregor, Nandipha Mntambo and Pamila Gupta

The inaugural edition of the JCAF Journal: Interdisciplinary Knowledge from the South considers the work of the modernist, neo-concrete, conceptual and contemporary artists and architects exhibited at JCAF over the past three years. Since our launch in 2020, the exhibitions, lectures and publications at JCAF have prompted necessary conversations around social justice, colonialism and representation in South Africa and elsewhere. This journal addresses and expands on those issues through contributions on specific artistic practices, reflections on post-coloniality and feminism, visual projects from architectural studios, photo essays, philosophical positionings and poetry. Through our work, we have consistently centred South–South dialogues, experiences and knowledge production.

JCAF works with a research theme methodology. For a period of three years we immerse ourselves in a topic, an approach that enables us to engage with subjects in depth. For our first research theme, Female Identities in the Global South (2020–2022), we focused on exhibiting only women artists as a way of amplifying the voices of those historically underrepresented in museum collections and exhibitions across the globe. We had the privilege of exhibiting ground-breaking thinkers and creative practitioners: from contemporary artists exploring identity and exile, to artists of the 1960s and 1970s pushing the boundaries of experiential art, and modernist icons who paved the way for other women artists. Histories of women across the Global South were mapped out through our programming, and the artists we exhibited gave us personal narratives, imaginary worlds, social contexts and stories of resistance to regimes violating human rights, all of which have shown us how current the work of these artists is, as well as how important are the lessons that we still have to learn from them. The publishing and launch of the JCAF Journal crystalise this journey and bring our first research theme to an end.

The journal is divided into three sections. The first section presents an epistemological understanding of the creation of knowledge from the South. The second section explores JCAF’s institutional model in relation to the urban and technological landscape of Johannesburg and the Global South. In the third section, writers, artists and architects respond to our first three exhibitions, Contemporary Female Identities in the Global South (2020), Liminal Identities in the Global South (2021) and Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South (2022).

In the process of thinking this journal into being, we have seen ourselves as part of an institution inscribed in a particular urban context, and have understood architecture as a vital social force. Most importantly, we have realised that the words of everyone who participated in this project weave the foundations of a different kind of kinship, one that persists through localities and time. Lidudumalingani Mqombothi describes Joburg as “simultaneously welcoming and unwelcoming, familiar and unfamiliar.”1 Knowing that this city is a playground of contradictions, we choose to live, work and care for it, believing in its potential and contributing to its cultural offerings. As a philanthropic institution, JCAF aims actively to create the conditions for generating knowledge in Johannesburg and to be part of the network of artists, intellectuals, knowledge communities and institutions in the Global South. This journal, in particular, reflects a collective engagement with the artistic practices of women artists, and demonstrates our commitment to establishing new dialogues across disciplines and within the South.

1 Mqombothi, L. (2022). “At first sight, Johannesburg is simultaneously welcoming and unwelcoming, familiar and unfamiliar”, in Johannesburg Review of Books, https://johannesburgreviewofbooks.com/2022/05/02/city-editor-at-first-sight-johannesburg-is-simultaneously-welcoming-and-unwelcoming-familiar-and-unfamiliar-by-lidudumalingani/. Accessed 12 September 2023.

About JCAF

The Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation (JCAF) is a foundation dedicated to research, technology and art. As a hybrid institution, JCAF combines an academic research institute, an innovative technology laboratory and a platform for museum-quality exhibitions. JCAF is a non-collecting foundation, which does not own art or house a private art collection. Our ethos is to advance the appreciation of modern and contemporary art through the production, sharing and preservation of knowledge. We are a centre for academic research.

JCAF engages with influential thinkers and collaborates with professionals and academics locally and internationally to provide exceptional artistic programming and generate knowledge. Our exhibitions are curated according to a theme and include guided tours, lectures and catalogues. JCAF explores the intersection of art and technology to create an integrated and immersive experience for visitors. It is a future-oriented institution, with online bookings, a website portal, an interactive touchscreen and an exhibition app that aims to foster a rewarding personal encounter between the visitor and the artwork, and to encourage exploration and intellectual engagement.


Executive EditorClive Kellner
Managing EditorBárbara Rousseaux
EditorsJeannine Dickson
Kay-Leigh Fisher
Associate EditorBronwyn Law-Viljoen
TrusteesAdrian Enthoven
Phuthuma Nhleko
Gordon Schachat
Image creditsGraham De Lacy,
unless otherwise noted
Designed and produced byFutura
Published byJoburg Contemporary Art
Foundation, 2024

© JCAF 2024
JCAF Journal: Interdisciplinary Knowledge from the South No. 1. ISBN: 978-0-7961-2059-5 (print) and 978-0-7961-2060-1 (e-book).

All material in this publication is copyrighted under South African and international copyright laws and may not be reproduced or copied beyond allowable limits of copyright laws without the written consent of JCAF. All rights reserved. Every reasonable effort has been made
to identify, contact and acknowledge rights holders. If there are errors or omissions, please contact JCAF so that they can be addressed
in subsequent editions.

Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation.

The JCAF Journal: Interdisciplinary Knowledge from the South is published quadrennially by JCAF in relation to a research theme.
The JCAF Journal is distributed at no cost to select libraries, institutions, museums,
curators, artists and academics in South Africa, the Global South and internationally. The content included in this print copy can be found online at jcafjournal.org.za where articles in PDF format can be downloaded for free.

Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation (Trust IT839/2013) NPO 157-947