School of the South Lecture Series

May to June 2022

The name of the lecture series originates from Uruguayan artist and intellectual Joaquín Torres-García’s School of the South, a centre strategically located in South America that became known for its contribution to knowledge aligned to the Global South.

In line with Torres-García’s intention of creating strong institutions in South America, JCAF’s School of the South lecture programme hosts prominent intellectuals whose practice and research are located and inscribed within the Global South. The lectures take place in The Forum, a purpose-built amphitheatre inside the Foundation’s gallery conceived of as a communal space for the exchange of ideas.

This first series of lectures in The Forum introduces the artists in this year’s exhibition Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South (opening October 2022), the third and last in JCAF’s exhibition trilogy under the theme Female Identities in the Global South. Each of the three lectures focused on one of the artists, exploring their life as well as the political and cultural context in which they practised.

Strange Kinships: Amrita Sher-Gil’s Art Across Continents, presented by Sonal Khullar

Frida Kahlo: The Invention of an Identity. A Political and Cultural Project of a World to Come, presented by Helena Chávez Mac Gregor

When Do Black Lives Matter?: Irma Stern’s Representations of Black Women in the Global South, presented by LaNitra M. Berger

Recordings of the lectures are available to watch below. Download the brochure here.


Lecture from the Global South

The Planet, the Universe and the Museum: Territories of the Imperial Imagination

Photo: The Hertie School / Lars Huebner

A lecture from the Global South, presented by Arjun Appadurai, on the occasion of the launch of the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation on 27 February 2020.



Appadurai is the Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He is currently Senior Professor of Anthropology and Globalization at The Hertie School (Berlin). He also serves as Honorary Professor in the Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and as a Senior Research Partner at the Max-Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen. Born and educated in Bombay. He earned his B.A. from Brandeis University in 1967, and his M.A. (1973) and Ph.D. (1976) from the University of Chicago. He has authored numerous books and scholarly articles, including ‘Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization’ (Minnesota 1996; Oxford India 1997), ‘The Future as a Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition’ (Verso 2013), and ‘Banking on Words: The Failure of Language in the Age of Derivative Finance’ (Chicago, 2016). His most recent book, co-authored with Neta Alexander, is ‘Failure’ (Polity Press 2019).


JCAF compiles a catalogue for each exhibition, which is freely available for visitors.

Download the catalogue for our previous exhibition Otherscapes: Four Installations by Four Contemporary South African Artists (28 June – 4 November 2023).

Download the catalogue for our third exhibition Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South (25 October 2022 – 22 February 2023).

Download the catalogue for our second exhibition Liminal Identities in the Global South (03 August 2021 – 26 February 2022).

Download the catalogue for our inaugural exhibition Contemporary Female Identities in the Global South (16 September 2020 – 30 January 2021).

Research Overview

JCAF views its operational locale as strategically located in the Global South, a broad paradigm that offers a fuller and more complex understanding of identity.

Joaquín Torres-García, Gravado 57. Nuestro Norte es el Sur (Etching #57. Our North is the South) (1943). © Alejandra, Aurelio and Claudio Torres. Courtesy Joaquín Torres-García Archive

The Global South suggests an economic, social, political and cultural identification amongst postcolonial subjects who express common ideals from a variety of heterogeneous contexts identified with but not geographically bound in the South. Therefore, the Global South is a construct and not a geographic location. Central to this construct is the idea of shared identities that affirm themselves in contrast to Western or Northern forms of hegemony thereby liberating subjects to produce new forms of economic, cultural, social and political emancipation.

JCAF’s mandate is to advance the public’s understanding of modern and contemporary art, and to identify and collaborate with scholars and institutions globally. Our remit is to reposition knowledge through curated exhibitions that engender a global understanding of modern and contemporary artistic practice. This will be achieved by presenting the artworks through a socio-historical lens.

At JCAF, knowledge is set in motion through a theme – a broad subject of contemporary and historical significance. Our first research theme, Female Identities in the Global South, runs over three years. At the culmination of the theme, we will publish a journal to disseminate the curatorial programme and research initiatives to the international art community through scholarly contributions.

Exhibitions as Research

The following criteria inform JCAF’s curatorial framework (i) to reposition contemporary South African art globally (ii) to participate in a dialogue between local and international, modern and contemporary art (iii) to actively disrupt the dominant view of Western modernity and (iv) to present exhibitions that are scholarly and non-commercial. Through this, JCAF aims to deepen the viewer’s experience of art, encourage close looking, and act as a space for contemplation and new ideas.