Johannesburg Contemporary Art Foundation

JCAF is an academic research institute, a platform for museum exhibitions and an innovative technology laboratory.



31 May – 7 December 2024

Ecospheres aims to address the topic of ecology, the environment, climate and the natural world through the concept of making-with (living with). Divided into three ‘atmospheres’: water, air and earth, encompassing ideas related to narrative, migration and indigenous knowledge, the exhibition is an immersive experience that includes installations of hydroponic plants, oceanic-inspired knitted textile, botanic photography, sound and meditative paintings of migratory birds.

Featured artists: Sutapa Biswas (India/United Kingdom); Ximena Garrido-Lecca(Peru); Mater Iniciativa (Peru); Bronwyn Katz (South Africa); Zayaan Khan & Coila-Leah Enderstein (South Africa); Rithika Merchant (India); Ernesto Neto (Brazil); Zizipho Poswa (South Africa); Jonah Sack (South Africa); Zina Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria/United Kingdom); Russell Scott (South Africa); Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopia)

Special projects: Wolff Architects (South Africa); Rebecca Potterton (South Africa)

Ecospheres forms part of JCAF’s second research theme: Worldmaking. The human drive towards meaning-making leads us to both consciously and unconsciously build our world from social conditioning, scientific rationality, artistic traditions and our own struggle for survival. Worldmaking refers to the ways we collectively make the spaces around us that we inhabit through symbolic practices. JCAF will explore this concept through a trilogy of exhibitions, along with an accompanying series of talks and publications.

Book your visit here.

Find the Ecospheres Reader here.

Explore a virtual tour of the exhibition below.


JCAF Knowledge Talks Podcasts and Live Events

The Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation (JCAF) is pleased to announce the first season of our new JCAF Knowledge Talks: a series of one-on-one live conversations and podcasts.

In each session, we learn about a different discipline with an expert in the field, who is based in the Global South. The conversations range from astrophysics and sustainable food practices, to AI and architecture. Through these talks, we explore how closer relationships between art and science can expand the way we see the world. Embodying the ethos of Joaquin Torres García’s School of the South, these talks will expand on interdisciplinary knowledge in the South.

The JCAF Knowledge Talks will be held as a monthly live conversation hosted by the JCAF team, in our library, during the Worldmaking exhibitions. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive the email invitations announcing each month’s conversation. Live events have limited capacity, booking is essential.

The JCAF Knowledge Talks podcasts will be led by art-critic Ashraf Jamal and recorded in the Foundation’s Reading Room. The podcasts will be available on various streaming platforms soon.


Image: Isabella Celis, El centro es el origen (The centre is the origin) (detail) from the series Muyus Seeds (2024). Kjolle flower pigment on cabuya fibre paper. © and courtesy Isabella Celis and Mater Iniciativa.

JCAF Journal: Interdisciplinary Knowledge from the South. No. 1

A Research Initiative of the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation


The inaugural edition of the JCAF Journal: Interdisciplinary Knowledge from the South. No. 1 is available online for free. The journal is the culmination of the first three years of research at JCAF under the theme Female Identities in the Global South.

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. In the third section, writers, curators, 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).

As a philanthropic institution, JCAF aims actively to create the conditions for generating knowledge in Johannesburg and to be part of the networks 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.

Explore the JCAF Journal here.

Focus Areas



JCAF is a learning institution committed to engaging with the art and ideas of our time, while acknowledging the role of the past.

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As a future-oriented institution, JCAF aims to explore the intersection of art and technology in the 21st century.

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JCAF aims to present pioneering exhibitions of museum quality that are grounded in rigorous research, develop a critical discourse and help to generate knowledge.

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Visiting JCAF to view exhibitions is only permitted during exhibition hours and with prior registration by booking online.

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