William Kentridge To Hold The Largest Exhibition On African Soil

There is nothing as incredible as seeing the video, paintings and theatre merge into one memorable experience. The feeling is beyond description and the excitement makes cloud nine bury its head in shame. We can call it experiencing art or walking into the hallowed ground cleansed with colours, light, canvas and screen while the echoes of sound enchant the glories of yesteryear.

Such is the experience that renowned South African international artist William Kentridge would bring home with his masterpieces on 25th August 2019. Dubbed as the largest exhibition to be held on African soil in over a decade, it will be hosted simultaneously in two parts by the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) and Norval Foundation in Cape Town South Africa.

According to the organizers, local art enthusiasts and international visitors to Cape Town – a fast-growing cultural capital – will gain access to many different works, executed over decades, by William Kentridge in two of the city’s leading art institutions at the same time, with the artist’s Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work on display at Zeitz MOCAA and Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture on view at Norval Foundation.

William Kentridge Adine Sagalyn

At MOCCA enthusiasts will marvel at Kentridge’s early works including new ones spanning over 40 years (1976-2019) of the artist’s active life.

Born in 1955, Kentridge lived in South Africa at a time when Apartheid policies were rife. His parents were anti-apartheid lawyers and, therefore, some of his works are a commentary on various shifting hegemonies of power politics, economies, language and the authority to narrate history. Although the exhibition informs, it is the creative process that is on display here as the title suggests. The exhibition is diverse in presentation since, in his four decades of art, Kentridge has employed various mediums like drawing, stop-frame animation, video, prints, sculpture, tapestry, and large-scale installation- all of which will come alive at the V&A Waterfront District former grain silos.

“This large scale survey exhibition prompts us to consider how various artistic media, initiated from two-dimensional works on paper, can be seeds through which Kentridge has developed his concerns for history, particularly in relation to his home continent, Africa, and its historical ties further afield. By mapping these histories we consider the artist’s relationship to the world and ideas of self-actualisation, and the illusions of power and progress through a violent history. Kentridge’s work, while ambiguous, does not hide from its inherent traumatic history. It is an honour for me to work with one of the living masters of our time,” says Azu Nwagbogu, curator of the exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA.

The new Executive Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA, Koyo Kouoh described Kentridge as ‘the master of contemporary visual political poetry’. Koyo began her tenure as the Director and Chief Curator of the museum in May 2019.   

Johannesburg. August 2014

The Norva Foundation presents Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture a three-dimensional work of William Kentridge from the past 19 years. According to the organizers, this will be the first exhibition internationally exploring Kentridge’s skills in sculpting. Kentridge has a background in the theatre where he worked as an actor, theatrical director, set designer and playwright in 1970 and ’80s. To improve his theatre skills he studied mime and theatre in Paris in 1980. By 1992 he started a collaboration involving multimedia performances with Handspring Puppet Theater which was founded in 1981 in Cape Town. The theatre was a perfect launchpad for his sculpting skills. His works in props and from his operas and images from his animations will step off the stage and from the screen and interact with the audience at the gallery level. There are also newer sculptures specifically commissioned for this exhibition.

“Kentridge’s sculptures embrace a spontaneous approach and have recently evolved towards the massive and the monumental. Simultaneously, and intension to the monumental aspects of his practice, he is revealed to be a choreographer as much as a sculptor,” Norva Foundation Senior Advising Curator Karel Nel said.

The foundation’s CEO Elana Brundyn believes that Kentridge’s sculpture exhibition will exemplify the massive gallery’s commitment to exhibiting sculptures regardless of their size and weight.

Kentridge has exhibited widely in Europe, America and Australia. Below is the exhibition’s opening events and dates:

Exhibition title:                Why Should I Hesitate? Putting Drawings To Work

Venue:                         Level 3 Galleries and throughout, Zeitz MOCAA; Silo District, V&A


Run dates:                             25 August 2019 – 23 March 2020

Exhibition curators:               Azu Nwagbogu, assisted by Tammy Langtry

Exhibition title:                   Why Should I Hesitate? Sculpture

Venue: Atrium and Galleries 2-8, Norval Foundation, 4 Steenberg Road,


Run dates: 24 August 2019 – 23 March 2020

Exhibition curators: Karel Nel, Owen Martin, Talia Naicker, Vicky Lekone


Tweet: @ZeitzMOCAA @afrowayonline @MusunguW

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