Professional Biography

Jenna Burchell is a South African artist whose work weaves together various practices including science and technology, ideas sources from (and critical of) anthropology, along with sound and interactivity in her art. Her work often fuses the digital with the natural world through sculptural objects and interactive environments.“My work is driven to counter the harder, digital edges of our technological era with story-telling that leads with softer feminine perspectives.” Burchell’s work explores the power inherent in the creation of an archive, and memory over time.

Burchell was born 1985 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She completed a Fine Arts degree at the University of Pretoria in 2007. She has since been resident artist at institutions such as; Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017), Nirox Sculpture park (2016), Arteles Residency in Finland (2012). She was the recipient of the Soundlands Public Art Commission in Bangor City (2015), Africa Burn Art Grant in Tankwa Karoo (2015), National Arts Festival Grant in Grahamstown (2014), Ithuba Art Fund in Johannesburg (2013) and the Thami Mnyele Fine Art Award in Ekhureleni (2011). Burchell’s large scale, permanent, commission Songsmith (The Great Karoo) was recently installed at Spier Wine Estate, South Africa (2018).

Her work has been exhibited at national and international spaces including; Museums - Oliewenhuis, Museum Africa, Smithsonian: Festivals - National Arts Festival (main program) in Grahamstown, Klein Karroo National Arts Festival, Aardklop Arts Festival: Galleries - Lovell, UNISA, Michaelis, Fried Contemporary, KZNA, Sulger-Buel Lovell, Amar, Kino Kino: Art Fairs - Cape Town Art Fair, Joburg Art Fair, 1:54 African Art Fair, Turbine Art Fair:  Special Projects - Art15 and Joburg Art Fair.  

Burchell is represented by Sulgar-Buel Gallery in London

Songsmith is a trade mark of Jenna Burchell

Commissions, Grants & Awards


2018 - Songsmith (The Great Karoo) commissioned by Spier Arts Trust for Spier Wine Farm, Stellenbosch, South Africa.


2015 - Songsmith (Bangor City), Soundlands Public Art Grant, Bangor, Wales, United Kingdom. 

2015 - The Geographers, Afrika Burn Art Grant, Tankwa, Karoo, South Africa.

2014 - Homing, National Arts Festival Main Programme Grant, Grahamstown, South Africa. 

2013 - Homing, Ithuba Arts Fund, Johannesburg, South Africa. 


2011 - Thambi Mnyele Fine Arts Award, Overall Winner.

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

2006 - Coca Cola Bursary Award for Studies in Arts.

2005 - Golden Key Society Membership for Academic Excellence.

2003 - Johan Canon Art Trophy. 


Selected Exhibitions:

Permanent Installations: 

2018 - Songsmith (The Great Karoo), Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa. 

Solo Exhibitions: 

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

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

Special Projects: 

2017 - Songsmith (Yorkshire Sculpture Park), Yorkshire, United Kingdom. 

2015 - Homing, Special Project, Art15, London, United Kingdom

2015 - The Narrators, Special Project, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa

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

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

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

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

Group Exhibitions (Selected):

2018 - Sweep Landskip, Kino Kindo, Sandness, Norway. Curated by Roberto Eckholm.

2018 - EVE, Amar Gallery, London, UK. With Sonja Braas, Renee Cox, Guerrilla Girls, Mekhala Bahl and Anthony Gormley. 

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

Business Day, Golden Sounds of Ancient Rocks in the Karoo, written by Lucinda Jolly, September 2018.

New African Magazine, Singing in the New, written by Beverly Andrews, June 2018. 

Spier, The Singing Stones of Spier, January 2018.

Art Versed, Jenna Burchell: Art, Technology and Nature, written by Isabel Gilchrist, 6 October 2017.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Visiting Artist:Jenna Burchell, 30 September 2017., 'The Singing Rocks' - Artist Jenna Burchell turns ancient rocks into songsmiths, 23 June 2016. 

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.


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

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


2017 - Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

2016 - Nirox Sculpture Park, Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng, South Africa.
2015 - Soundlands, Bangor City, Wales, United Kingdom. 
2014 - National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa.
2012 - Arteles Residency, Hämeenkyrö, Finland.