Professional Biography

Jenna Burchell is an anti-disciplinary South African artist. Her practice weaves together various forms of technology, science, anthropology, sound, and art. Burchell builds responsive sculptural objects and large-scale interactive environments for exhibition visitors to play with. People call them ‘memory harps’ or ‘empathy machines’. She creates them to connect people, communities, and places around the world to eachother. Burchell’s work explores the integration of emotive intelligence and technology as she believes that the combination of these elements has the potential to inspire the future of human experience. Her work explores themes of memory, land, home and belonging. 

Burchell completed a Fine Arts degree at the University of Pretoria in 2007. She has since been the recipient of the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award (2011), Arteles Art Residency in Finland (2012), Ithuba Art Fund (2013), National Arts Festival Grant (2014), Afrika Burn Art Grant (2015) and the Soundlands Commission in Wales (2015) and Residnecy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017). Her on-going touring solo show Homing has been seen on National Arts Festival Main Program (Grahamstown), Turbine Art Fair (Johannesburg), Lovell Conceptual (Cape Town) and Art15 (London). Her work has been seen at national and international museums (Oliewenhuis, Museum Africa, Smithsonian), institutions (UNISA Art Gallery, Michaelis Art Gallery, The Olympia, Somerset House), commercial spaces (Fried Contemporary, KZNSA Gallery, Lovell Gallery), fairs (Cape Town Art Fair, 1:54, Klein Karroo National Arts Festival, Aardklop Arts Festival, Turbine Art Fair), and as special projects at Art15, FNB Joburg Art Fair. 

Burchell is represented by Sulgar-Buel Lovell Gallery in South Africa and the UK. 

Awards & Grants

Soundlands Public Art Commission, Bangor, Wales, 2015. 

Afrika Burn Art Grant, 2015.

National Arts Festival Main Programme Grant, 2014.

Ithuba Arts Fund, 2013. 

Thambi Mnyele Fine Arts Award (Overall Winner), 2011.

Thambi Mnyele Fine Arts Award (Merit Award: New Media), 2009.

Coca Cola Bursary Award for Studies in Arts, 2006. 

Golden Key Society Membership for Academic Excellence, 2005.

Johan Canon Art Trophy, 2003. 


Selected Exhibitions:

Solo Exhibitions: 

2016 - Songsmith (Cradle of Humankind), FNB Joburg Art Fair, Gallery Solo Project presented by Sulger-Buel Lovell, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

2016 - Songsmith (Bangor City), Soundlands, Bangor, Wales, United Kingdom. 

2015 - The Narrators, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Gallery Solo Project presented by Sulger-Buel Lovell, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

2015 - Homing, Sulger-Buel-Lovell, Art15, Olympia, London, United Kingdom

2015 - The Geographers, Afrika Burn, Tankwa, Karoo, South Africa 

2014 - Homing, Lovell Conceptual, Woodstock, Capetown, South Africa

2014 - Homing, Rhodes School of Art Gallery, Grahamstown National Arts Festival (Main Programme), Grahamstown, South Africa.

2014 - Homing, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

2013 - Urban Wetlands, Lovell Conceptual, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

2008 - Murmur. Silence. Touch, Gordart Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2017 - Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Songsmith (YSP), West Bretton, UK. 

2017 - 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Sulger-Buel Lovell Booth, London, UK. 

2017 - Cape Town Art Fair, Sulger-Buel Lovell Booth C6, Capetown, South Africa. 

2016 - Hook Up, curated by Found Collective & Dead Bunny society, Ellis House, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

2016 - A Place In Time, curated by Helen Pheby. Winter Sculpture Fair, Nirox Sculpture Park, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. 

2015 - Altered Realities, curated by Johan Conradie. Association of Arts, Pretoria, South Africa. 

2014 - MAKE IT NEW, curated by Rayda Becker, Jos Thorne, Jane Solomon and Isabel Schneider. World Design Capital 2014 Policy Conference Exhibition, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa.

2013 - Stay, curated by Lavendhri Arumugam. Ithuba Arts Gallery, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

2013 - Digi Re-Engineering, curated by K vd Walt, J de Rooster, J Lebeko and B Mknonza. UNISA art gallery, Pretoria, South Africa.
2013 - New Voices, curated by Ronel de Jager. Art Space, Johannesburg, South Africa.

2012 - Terra Firma, curated by Elfriede Dreyer. Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa.

2012 - A.R.T. show curated by Carol Brown. Travelling group show: Smithsonian, Washington DC; Michealis Galleries, Capetown, South Africa; Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; KZNSA art Gallery, Durban, South Africa.

2012 - The Hanging Gardens, curated by Paul Bayliss. KKNK arts festival, Outdshoorn, South Africa.

2012 - Designs, curated by Elfriede Dreyer. KKNK Arts Festival, Outdshoorn, South Africa.

2011 - Designs of Nature, curated by Elfriede Dreyer. Fried contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa. With; Rina Strutzer, Frikkie Ekstein and Christian Hattingh.

2011 - Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards, Coen Scholtz Recreation Center, Kempton Park, South Africa.

2010 - Absa Atilier Contemporary Fine Arts Awards, ABSA Towers, Johannesburg, South Africa.

2010 - Bodies in Transition, curated by Elfriede Dreyer. Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa.

2010 - Dystopia, curated by Elfriede Dreyer and Jacob Lebeko. Travelling group show: Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein (2010); Museum Africa, Johannesburg (2009); Unisa Art Gallery, Pretoria (2009).

2009 - The Point will be Defeated, Platform on 18th Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa.

2009 - Addict Lab 09, Design Square, Johannesburg, South Africa.

2009 - Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award, Coen Scholtz Recreation Centre, Kempton Park, South Africa.

2009 - Sasol New Signatures, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.

2008 – Fabrication, curated by Audrey Anderson. Magpie Gallery, Centurion, South Africa.

2008 – Bewilderness, duet show with Retha Furguson. Magpie Gallery, Centurion, South Africa.

2007 - i spy, SACTE building, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. In completion of Fine Arts Degree (Hons). 

Reviews, Features and Articles

Two-Vivid Productions, Jenna Burchell, August 2015.

ArtLogic, JoburgArt Fair Video, 11 September 2015. 

ELLE, 5 Must-See Artists: Joburg Art Fair, 11 September 2015. 

Artsy, 10 Young African Artists You Should Know, 31 August 2015. 

10and5, FNB JoburgArtFair: Jenna Burchell | Histories That Resonate, 25 August 2015. 

ArtNet News, What to see and buy at Art15 London Art Fair, 21 May 2015. 

After Nyne Online, Top Ten Art15 Pieces you wish you'd thought of first, 25 May 2015. 

B-Things Blog, Homing - interactive installation by Jenna Burchell, 29 October 2014. Review by Yolandi Schreuder.

Lovell Conceptual presents Homing by Jenna Burchell, Documentary video, 19 October 2014. 

Whats On In Capetown, Review:Homing at the Lovell Gallery,  August 2014. Review by Jaroslav Kalac. 

Oppidanpress, Tech-savvy artists at fest, 7 August 2014. Article by Lili Barras-Hargan.

Cape Argus Early (Life), Harping on memories, 30 July 2014. Review by Diane de Beer.

Architype Online Magazine, Homing, 19 July 2014. Feature by Toni Clayton. 

IOL Tonight, Evocative soundscapes and flights of fancy, 15 July 2014. Diane de Beer. 

Business Day, Children, adults and cabinet ministers,10 July 2014. Review by Chris Thurman. 

Cue, Sounds from home, 7 July 2014. Review by Dave Mann and Isabel M. Castro.

The Herald, Harp-like sculpture pulls at heartstrings, 4 July 2014. Review by Diane de Beer.

Mail and Gaurdian, Interactive and on all the time, 27 June 2014. Feature by Jessica Hunkin.

Media Update, National Arts Festival to trace SA's heritage and legacies in 2014. 20 June 2014. 

10and5 Featured Artist, Interactive installation and performance artist Jenna Burchell10 June 2014. Feature by Jessica Hunkin.

Business Day TV, Ithuba Arts Award, 3 November 2013. 

Ithuba Arts Gallery. Ithuba Art Fund Award, 19 July 2013. 

The Sunday Times Read Right Supplement. Artists in your pocket: A mini guide to contemporary SA artists, 19 August 2012.

Live Out Loud Milionairs Magazine. Designs of nature - artist profile. 19 May 2011. Feature by Christine Grove.


Artist studio documentary videos of Songsmith (Cradle of Humankind), Pretoria, South Arica. View here. 

Two-Vivid Productions interview with Jenna Burchell, London, 2015. View here. 

Lovell Conceptual presents Homing by Jenna Burchell, Capetown, 2014. View here. 

Artificial Reed Field Lights Up Your Path, Johannesburg, 2013. View here. 


(Current) Yorkshire Sculpture Park, United Kingdom, 2017.

Nirox Residency, Cradle of Mankind, South Africa, 2015/2016.
Soundlands Residency, Bangor, Wales, 2015. 
Sulger-Buel Lovell, Resident artist, London, 2015.
National Arts Festival Residency, Grahamstown, South Africa, 2014.
Arteles Art Residency, Hämeenkyrö, Finland, 2012.