Lecture series at Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation puts gaze on the work and practices of artists Irma Stern, Frida Kahlo and Amrita Sher-Gil

By CityLife Arts Writer

Amrita Sher-Gil’s Amrita Sher-Gil’s Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation (JCAF) has put together an interesting lectures series focusing on the artists whose works are currently on exhibit at this Forest Town based art museum.

Dubbed the School of the South Lecture Series it is taking place this May running till June 2022.

The 2022 lecture series at JCAF will introduce the artists in this year’s exhibition, Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South, the third and last in JCAF’s exhibition trilogy under the theme Female Identities in the Global South. Each of the three lectures will focus on one of the artists, exploring their life as well as the political and cultural context in which they practiced.


The lectures will take place in The Forum, a purpose-built amphitheatre at JCAF conceived of as a communal space for the exchange of ideas. This first series of lectures in The Forum focuses on the role of the artists in their cultural contexts and contemporary society.

The name of the lecture series originates from Uruguayan artist and intellectual Joaquín Torres-García’s School of the South, a school of thought founded in Montevideo, Uruguay in the 1940s to serve as a knowledge-production centre aligned to the South and strategically located in South America. In line with Torres-García’s intention of creating strong institutions in South America, JCAF’s own School of the South lecture programme will host prominent intellectuals whose research is located and inscribed within the Global South. 

Sonal Khullar will present a lecture titled Strange Kinships: Amrita Sher-Gil’s Art Across Continents on Thursday 26 May 2022. Khullar contemplates the controversial language that surrounds Sher-Gil’s practice and situates her art within histories of anti-colonial nationalism, modernist cosmopolitanism and transnational movements in the Global South .

Helena Chávez Mac Gregor’s lecture, Frida Kahlo: The Invention of an Identity. A Political and Cultural Project of a World to Come is on Thursday 9 June 2022. Chávez Mac Gregor explores how Frida Kahlo’s individual, artistic and political identity went hand in hand with the creation of a new socialist national project for modern Mexico.

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LaNitra M. Berger’s lecture on Wednesday 22 June is titled When Do Black Lives Matter?: Irma Stern’s Representations of Black Women in the Global South. Berger considers Irma Stern’s representations of Black women and argues for new ways to contextualise the artist in the 21st century. 

Limited seating is available for the lectures: booking is essential.

Recordings of the lectures will be screened in The Forum in the week following each lecture. Book on the JCAF website to reserve a viewing slot

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