William Kentridge: Drawn from Africa

Travelling Dates + Venues


See venue websites for exhibition entry details.


Selected works | Education kit | Exhibition Handout

William Kentridge was born in apartheid South Africa in 1955. During his childhood, Kentridge's mother, Felicia, and father, Sydney, were both actively involved in supporting South Africa's anti-apartheid activists in political trials and in events such as the inquest into the Sharpeville massacre of 1960. His family's involvement in the injustices of apartheid played an important role in his development and informed his work as a gifted figurative artist. Given this background, Kentridge considered abstract art and conceptual art 'an impossible activity'.

Kentridge's art belongs to a tradition of some of the great figurative artists of the past such as William Hogarth, Francisco Goya and Honoré Daumier, as well as the German Expressionists Max Beckmann and George Grosz. These artists created powerful imagery that explored the social conditions of their time.

While Kentridge follows in their footsteps, he also develops imagery of subtlety and imagination in film, drawing, printmaking and tapestry design and explores three dimensions in innovative opera productions and sculptural forms. His art dismantles, transforms and fuses one art category into another.


Jane Kinsman
Senior Curator, International Prints, Drawings and Illustrated Books

William Kentridge Remembering the Treason Trial 2013, prints lithograph, National Gllery of Australia, Canberra, Gift of Anita and Luca Belgiorno-Nettis and the Poynton Bequest 2014


The exhibition is accompanied by a short introductory video compiled from segments of the ART21 films, Anything Is Possible (2010) and William Kentridge: The Magic Flute (2011).

ART21, a non-profit art organisation based in New York, is internationally recognised for its outstanding documentary films and educational programs dedicated to contemporary art and artists. For further information, please visit ART21 Website.

Untitled Document