Associate Professor Svea Josephy

Associate Professor – Photography

Svea Josephy is an Associate Professor in Fine Art (Photography) at Michaelis. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (in Fine Art) at UCT and completed a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Stellenbosch. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Studies from the University of Wales. Josephy has held a number of exhibitions of her creative work, nationally and internationally. Her work has been included in numerous international group exhibitions such as Crossing Boundaries: Contemporary Art and Artists from South Africa in Qatar, Format International Photography Festival: Photocinema, United Kingdom, Chobi Mela V International Festival of Photography, Bangladesh, The Position of South African Photography – Today, Germany, Shuttle 99, Finland and DAKART 2010 9th Biennial of Contemporary African Art, Senegal, where she was a prize winner in 2010. Josephy’s work is held in numerous collections locally and internationally.

Josephy’s research interests include Southern African Photography, documentary photography, contemporary art, contemporary South African lens based practice and colonial photography. Her writing on these areas has been published in various books, journals and catalogues on contemporary art and photography. Josephy’s research is concerned with the politics of post apartheid photography, particularly as it connects to the politics of the land and its representation in relation to identity. Her research has followed a history of South African photography, focussing initially on the documentary imperative and ‘struggle’ photography and tracing this back through colonialist and modernist photography. Her current research is concerned with demonstrating shifts in photography, which have taken place in a post apartheid context. She is interested in ‘new documentary’ forms that have emerged in post apartheid South Africa, in particular those which relate to the representation of the land and structures. Her work as a producer of visual research is concerned with locating herself within this paradigm. She is interested in the land and how it is constructed, how one constructs the land when one photographs it, and how through naming one constructs the land.

In recent years she has been working on a series of exhibitions of photographs, which look at parallels in the naming of ‘twin towns’ in South Africa and other parts of the world. Initially focused on a colonial past these photographs have more recently connected different locations, in South Africa and abroad, as sites of struggle, and of war, liberation and reconciliation.

Download here - Bibliometric Research Impact Evidence for Svea Josephy


  • Josephy, S. 2020. ‘Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City after Paris: reflections on photographing Hermann Kallenbach's Johannesburg through the lens of Walter Benjamin's Arcades  in the age of digital reproduction’ in Critical African Studies, DOI: 10.1080/21681392.2020.1727346. To link to this article:
  • Kasturi Behari-Leak, Svea Josephy, Mary-Anne Potts, Gift Muresherwa, Jaimie Corbishley, Tammy-Anne Petersen & Borges Gove. 2019. Using vulnerability as a decolonial catalyst to re-cast the teacher as human(e), Teaching in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1661376
  • Josephy, S. 2017. ‘Acropolis now: Ponte City as a “portrait of a city”’ in Thesis 11. 2017, Vol.14 (1) 67-85. Sage Journals. (online) ISSN: 1461-7455 [peer reviewed]
  • Josephy, S. 2017. ‘ Satellite Cities’ photographic essay’. in Thesis 11. 2017, Vol.14 (1) 67-85. Sage Journals. ISSN: 1461-7455
  • Josephy, S. 2016. “The Story of a South African Farm: Vlakplaas photographed by Jillian Edelstein, Jo Ractliffe and Renzske Scholtz” in Home/Land: Women, Citizenship, Photographies, edited by Marion Arnold and Marsha Meskimmon. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press [peer reviewed] ISBN: 9781781382806.
  • Josephy, S. (ed) 2016. Satellite Cities a solo exhibition by Svea Josephy, 19 January – 6 March, WAM Johannesburg, (exhibition catalogue), Wits City Institute, WITS, Johannesburg. 1-64. ISBN: ISBN 978-0-620-69443-8
  • Josephy, S. 2014. ‘Photography confidential: Educators Speak’ in Michelle Borge (ed) Photography 4.0: A Teaching Guide to the 21st century. Focal Press, Taylor and Francis: New York. Pages 56-59, 226, 248. ISBN 978-0-415-81521-5
  • Josephy, S. 2014. ‘Fractured compounds: photographing post-apartheid compounds and hostels’ in Social Dynamics: a journal of African studies. Routledge Taylor and Francis: London. ISSN 0253-3952 (print) Volume 40, Issue 1, 2014. (online)
  • Josephy, S. 2013. ‘Standing Out: a play of Lesbian identities in the work of Jean Brundrit’ in Out of Site: representations of identity in the work of Jean Brundrit edited by Annemi Conradie. Cape Town: SoSo Press. Peer reviewed article. 57-74. ISBN:978-1-920022-04-4.
  • Josephy, S. 2008. ‘Postcards from the Edge: Representations of Cape Town and Johannesburg’ in Jozi and the (M)other City by Carine Zaayman. Michealis School of Fine Art: Cape Town. ISBN 978-0-620-41576-7 p.12-21
  • Josephy, S. 2007. Twin Town. Bell-Roberts: Cape Town. ISBN 978-0-620-39982-1
  • Josephy, S. 2006. ‘Guy Tillim’ in Art South Africa, Vol. 5.1 No.1. Spring 2006. P76 (ISSN 1684-6133).
  • Josephy, S. 2005. ‘Departures and Arrivals’ in Art South Africa, Vol. 3 Issue 3 Autumn 2005. P 24-27.Josephy, S. 2005. ‘Departures: New Directions in South African Documentary Photography’ in Grundlingh, G. (ed) The Cape Town Month of Photography 2005. Bell-Roberts: Cape Town. 6-13. ISBN-0-620-33778-8.
  • Josephy, S. 2004. ‘Jane Alexander’ in New Identities Hatjie Cantz (ed). Bochum: Museum Bochum 156-157. ISBN 3-7757-1489-8

Solo and Selected Group Exhibitions:

  • 2020. Josephy, S. State of Mind. Curated by Simone Tredoux. PH Centre, Cape Town. 12 February – 26 March 2020.
  • 2019  Josephy,S. Monochrome. Curated by Alastair Whitton. Barnard Gallery, Cape Town, 22 January to the 26 February.
  • 2018. Josephy, S. Nano 1.2. Curated by Alistair Whitton. Barnard Gallery, Cape Town 5 June – 10 July. T
  • 2018. Josephy, S. Throwing Shapes. Curated by Jana Terreblanche. SMITH Gallery, Cape Town, 9 June to 30 June. 
  • 2018. Josephy, S. Cape to Tehran: Re-imaging and re-imagining personal history in post-Apartheid South Africa and post-revolutionary Iran. Curated by Sepideh Mehraban. Gallery MOMO Cape Town February 13 – March 29 and Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg 7 April to 5 May. 
  • 2017. Josephy, S. Satellite Cities. [solo exhibition] Wits Art Museum (WAM) University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 19 January – 6 March 2016 and co hosted by the WITS City Institute (WCI). 
  • 2017. Josephy, S. Nano 1.1 curated by Alistair Whitton, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town, July 26 2017 to 15 August 2017. 
  • 2017. Josephy, S. 36 Frames (Photo focus) curated by Mirjam Asmal, AVA Gallery, Cape Town, 15 July to 12 August 2017. 
  • 2016. Josephy, S. Nano, curated by Alistair Whitton. Barnard Gallery, Cape Town, July 19-16 August, 2016. 
  • 2016. Josephy, S. Liminal Geographies curated by Alistair Whitton. Barnard Gallery, Cape Town, 20 October-16 November 2016. 
  • 2015. Josephy, S. Street level. A group exhibition curated by Andrew Lamprecht at the World Art Gallery, Cape Town, 1 June -21 June 2015. 
  • 2014. “Brave New World: 20 years of Democracy” curated by Ernestine White. 15 June to 1 November 2014. IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2013. Josephy, S, Philip Miller, Penny Siopis, and Gavin Younge in Philip Miller’s Extracts from the Underground. Collaborative installation including sound and multimedia at the Cape Town City Hall as part of a GIPCA Land event. 23-24 November 2013.
  • 2013. “Terminal” as part of the GIPCA LAND project. Curated by Adrienne van Eeden-Warton, Svea Josephy and Jean Brundrit. 20 November to 2nd December, lampposts around Cape Town.
    “Point of View: contemporary SouthAfrican photography” curated by Alistair Witton. 25 July to 29 August, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2012. Home: Roots en Route curated by Jenny Altschuler (as part of the Cape Town Month of Photography 2012). 20 September to 26th October, South African Jewish Museum, Cape Town.
  • 2012. Home /Land. Exhibition to coincide with conference Home / Land: women Photographies, Citizenship. 4-7 July, Loughbough School of the Arts, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
  • 2012. A Natural Selection: 1991-2011. Curated by Clare Butcher. 21 November -12 January, AVA Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2011. Lens. Curated by Colia Harmsen and Ulrich Wolf. 12 May – 23 July, Sasol Art Gallery, University of Stellenbosch.
  • 2011. AVA Auction. Curated by Kirsty Cockrill. 24-31 March, AVA Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2011. Crossing Boundaries: Contemporary Art and Artists from South Africa. Curated by Jochen Sokoly. 26 January – 5 March, VCU Gallery, Doha, Qatar.
  • 2010. Third Worlds: Model Cities with contributions by Noeleen Murray, Carson Smuts, Tessa Dowling and Harry Garuba. 19 February to 19 March, Michaelis Gallery, UCT,
  • 2010. Amani 2010 exhibition. Curated by Gerald Machona, Kathy Coates, Steve Bandoma and Andrew Lamprecht. 30 October 2010, Lookout Hill, Khayelitsha.
  • 2010. DIVISIONS: Aspects of South African Art 1948-2010. Curated by Baylon Sandri. 5 June-31 August 2010, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2010. Own Goal. Curated by Kirsty Cockrill. 31 May-25 June, Association of the Visual Arts, Cape Town.
  • 2010. DAKART 2010 9th Biennial of Contemporary African Art. Curated by Marilyn Martin, Sylvian Sanakale, Kunle Filani, Mareme Malong Samb, Rachida Triki. 7th May -7th June, IFAM, Dakar, Senegal.
  • 2010. Better Cities, Better Lives. (curated with Noeleen Murray). 1 June-30 June, South African Pavilion, Shaghai Exposition.
  • 2010. 1910-2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective, Curated by Riason Naaidoo. 15 April -September 2010. IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2010. Resolution – the power of innuendo. 30 November-7 January, AVA Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2009. Choices 08 Curated by Nadja Daehnke. 30 July – 26 November, IZIKO South African National Gallery.
  • 2009. Abavelisi Bengingqi yaseLwandle. Curated by Jos Thorne, December 16 2009-present, (permanent display), Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum.
  • 2009. Format International Photography Festival: Photocinema, Curated by Louise Clements. 6 March – 5 April, QUAD, Derby, United Kingdom.
  • 2009. Chobi Mela V International Festival of Photography, Bangladesh, 2009. Curated by Shahidul Alam. 30 January-20 February, Goethe Institut, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • 2008. Intimate Distance. Curated by Nadja Daehnke. November 2008-March 2009, IZIKO South African National Gallery.
  • 2008. The League of Ahistoric, Anachronistic Photographers Specializing in Archaic and Obsolete Processes. Curated by Adrienne van Eeden and Jean Brundrit. 15 September -8 October, AVA Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2008. Between Meaning and Matter. Curated by Sanford Shaman. 25 June-8 August, Bell-Roberts Contemporary, Cape Town.
  • 2008. X Marks the Spot. Curated by Kirsty Cockerill. AVA, Cape Town. 2-20 June 2008.
  • 2008. Cities in Crises. Curated by Michael Godby and Dave Southwood. April-May 2008, FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg.
  • 2008. Surface Tension. Curated by Heidi Erdman. December 2007-January 2008, Photographers Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2008. The Jo’berg Art Fair. Bell-Roberts Contemporary stand, March 2008, Sandton Conference Centre.
  • 2007. Twin Town November 2007-January, 2008. Bell-Roberts Contemporary, Cape Town.
  • 2007. Ball Sports. Curated by Kirsty Cockerill. 12-23 November 2007. AVA Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2007. Greenhouse. Curated by Suzette Bell-Roberts. 20 October-3 December, Bell-Roberts Gallery at Lourensford.
  • 2007. Collection Six. Curated by Baylon Sandri. 15 September-15 October, SMAC, Stellenbosch.
  • 2007. Flesh. Curated by Christiaan Diedericks. April 2007, Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees Outshoorn (KKNK).
  • 2007. Finding UCT: Narratives New and Old in the UCT Permanent Collection curated by Clare Butcher and Linda Stupart. September-October 2007, UCT Centre for African Studies, Cape Town.
  • 2006. Second to None: Celebrating 50 years of Women’s Struggles. Curated by Gabi Ncobo and Virginia MacKenny. 24 June-3 September, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2006. Artworks in Progress exhibition. November-December, Michaelis Gallery. Cape Town.
  • 2006. 20 Artists exhibition. Curated by Norman O’ Flynn and Suzette Bell Roberts. 11 January-11 February, Bell Roberts Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2006. Home. Curated by Nadja Daehnke, Nicholas Hales and Erna Carstens. September-October 2006, The Old Biscuit Factory, Cape Town.
  • 2006. Of Want and Desire. Curated by Nadja Daehnke. 4-30 October 2006. Joao Ferreira Gallery.
  • 2005. Sweet Nothings. Curated by Sanell Aggenbach. 9 February- 5 March, Bell Roberts Gallery.
  • 2005. UnExposed. Curated by Stephen Inggs. March 2005, Michaelis Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2005. Curiosity CLXXV. Curated by Pippa Skotnes, Gwen van Embden and Fritha Langerman. Nov 2004-Mar 2005, Hiddingh Hall, University of Cape Town.
  • 2004. Decade of Democracy. Curated by Emma Bedford. February-September, IZIKO, South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2004. Forty Years: Artists and Designers from the University of Stellenbosch. Curated by Victor Honey. May-Aug, Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch.
  • 2003. Roots. Curated by Pat Khosa. September-October, Durban Art Gallery.
  • 2003. The Brett Kebble Art Awards. October, Cape Town Convention Centre, Cape Town.
  • 2003. Picnic. Curated by Andrew Lamprect. November, Bell Roberts Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 2002. Framing Documentary, (as part of the Cape Town Month of Photography) March, Association of the Visual Arts, Cape Town.
  • 2002. The Position of South African Photography – Today. OMC Gallery for Contemporary Art, September-October, Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • 2001. Framing Documentary. January, University of Stellenbosch Gallery.
  • 2000. Emotions and Relations. Curated by Hentie van der Merwe. April, Sandton Gallery, Johannesburg and Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunsfees, Oudtshoorn.
  • 2000. Emergency. Curated by Doreen Southwood, John Murray and Julia Rosa Clarke. February, Bell Roberts, Cape Town.
  • 1999. Shuttle 99. September 1999-May 2000, N.S.A., Durban; Bensusan Museum of Photography, Johannesburg; The Granaries, Cape Town, and The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki.
  • 1999. One City, Many Cultures. South African Museum, Cape Town. February-March 1999.
  • 1999. Cache (as part of The Cape Town Month of Photography). March , The Castle, Cape Town.
  • 1998. Photosynthesis. Curated by Kathleen Grundlingh, July-March 1998-1999, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town and the Standard Bank Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown and Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg.
  • 1988. Unplugged III, Market Theatre Gallery, Johannesburg.
  • 1988. Fine Art Staff: Lecturing staff from the Department of Fine Arts, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Association for Visual Arts.
  • 1988. Bad Books. SAAA, Bellville, Cape Town.
  • 1999. Women Artists of the Western Cape. Curated by Titia Ballot. Sasol Museum, Stellenbosch, Cape Town.
  • 1997. SAAH Conference Exhibition (to coincide with the 13th annual conference for the South African Association of Art Historians). Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, Cape Town.
  • 1995. Contemporary South African Art 1985 -1995. Curated by Emma Bedford. South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
  • 1995. Weekly Mail and Guardian People’s Portraits. South African National Gallery. September 1995, Cape Town.


  • John Fleetwood with Svea Josephy and Jo Ractliffe (curators). Against Time: The South African Tierney Fellowship Project in South Africa. Curated group exhibition as part of the photographic biennale Recontres de Bamako, Bamako, Mali. The exhibition was held at the Mobido Keita Memorail Centre 31 October – 31 December 2015. Participants included Ashley Walters, Juan Orrantia, Mack Magagane, Nobukho Nqaba, Paul Samuels and Sipho Gongxeka.
  • Josephy, S. and Jean Brundrit and Adrienne van Eeden-Warton (curators) Terminal.  as part of the GIPCA LAND project. Curated by Adrienne van Eeden-Warton, Svea Josephy and Jean Brundrit. 20 November to 2nd December, lamp posts around Cape Town.