Since the 1980s, Jo Ractliffe’s photographs have reflected her ongoing preoccupation with the South African landscape and the ways in which it figures in the country’s imaginary, particularly the violent legacies of apartheid.
Ractliffe has taught within various formal and informal contexts including University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, the Market Photo Workshop, and the Salzburg Summer Academy. She has held fellowships with the Centre for Curating the Archive, University of Cape Town (2014); Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), Johannesburg (2010); Ampersand Foundation, New York (2008); the Christian Merian Stiftung fellowship at iaab studios, Basel, Switzerland (2001); and the Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Vallais fellowship in Sierre, Switzerland (2001). She was nominated for the Discovery Prize at the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival (2011).
Jo Ractliffe: Drives, the first US survey of the photographer’s work, took place at the Art Institute of Chicago (2020 – 21). Previous solo exhibitions include Signs of Life, Stevenson, Cape Town (2019); Hay Tiempo, No Hay Tiempo, Centro Fotográfico Álvarez Bravo, as part of Hacer Noche, Oaxaca (2018); Everything is Everything, Stevenson, Johannesburg (2017); After War, Foundation A Stichting, Brussels (2015); The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe’s Photographs of Angola and South Africa, the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015) and Someone Else’s Country at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, (2014)
Her photo-books include Jo Ractliffe: Photographs 1980s to Now (2020); Signs of Life (2019); Everything is Everything (2017); The Borderlands (2015), As Terras do Fim do Mundo (2010) and Terreno Ocupado(2008). As Terras do Fim do Mundo was shortlisted in the category of ‘Best Photobook of 2010’ at the International Photobook Festival in Kassel (2011).