Tate Modern Talk

William Kentridge in Conversation

​William Kentridge, Photographer: Marc Shoul 

Hear acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge discuss his most ambitious project to date

The South African artist William Kentridge is renowned for his compelling films, drawings, theatre and opera productions responding to the legacies of colonialism and apartheid. This event coincides with the world premiere of his major new performance work The Head & the Load at Tate Modern, co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, which reflects upon and commemorates the significant contribution of the African men and women who served in the First World War, during its centenary year. Kentridge will be joined in conversation by the South African composers Philip Miller and Thuthuka Sibisi, along with the writer and broadcaster David Olusoga.

The Head & the Load is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Commissions, Park Avenue Armory, and Ruhrtriennale, with additional support from Holland Festival.

World premiere in London at Tate Modern, produced by THE OFFICE performing arts + film in association with Quaternaire. 14-18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England & Heritage Lottery Fund and by the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport.

The Head & the Load acknowledges the kind assistance of Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery in this project.


David Olusoga

David Olusoga is a British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster and film-maker. His most recent TV series include Black and British: A Forgotten History (BBC 2), The World’s War (BBC 2), A House Through Time (BBC 2) and the BAFTA winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners (BBC 2). David is also the author of Black & British: A Forgotten History which was awarded both the Longman-History Today Trustees Award and the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. His other books include The World’s War, which won First World War Book of the Year in 2015, The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and The Colonial Roots of Nazism and Civilizations: Encounters and the Cult of Progress. David was also a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Black British History and writes for The Guardian and is a columnist for The Observer and BBC History Magazine. He is also one of the three presenters on the BBC's landmark Arts series Civilizations.

Philip Miller

Philip Miller is a composer and sound artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Since 1994, he has worked with his long time collaborator, William Kentridge, composing the music for the seminal film: Felix in Exile. His music has more recently been heard here in London with the installation, Refusal of Time (Whitechapel) the cine-concert, Paper Music ( Print Room) and Five Themes: (Tate Modern, The Tanks). In 2016, together with Thuthuka Sibisi, he composed Triumph and Laments, a processional march for two orchestras and choir, performed in front of Kentridge’s frieze on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome. Independent projects, include his award-winning Rewind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape & Testimony, presented at the Market Theatre ( South Africa), The 62 Centre, Williams College, Celebrate Brooklyn and the Royal Festival Hall (2011.) In 2013, it was selected for the South African Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Thuthuka Sibisi

Thuthuka Sibisi’s musical education began at the world-renowned Drakensberg Boy’s Choir School where his passion for performance was born. He subsequently went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Music at Stellenbosch University in 2011. Alongside his music studies he completed studies in Physical Theatre and Movement with Sam Prigge and Estelle Olivier. He is a graduate of the MA (Performance Making) program at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.

Thuthuka has toured extensively, performing throughout South Africa as well as Asia and South America. Further tours include Stockholm, as Musical Director of Philip Miller’s opera Between A Rock and A Hard Place (premier) in collaboration with Cape Town Opera. Further, he was Associate Conductor and Chorus Master for Bongani Ndonana-Breen’s oratoria Credo, which was written to commemorate UNISA’s 140th anniversary of its founding. Other engagements include Chorus Master for UCT Opera School: Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, Rossini's Il Viaggio a Reims and Four:30 - South African Operas. Visual collaborations include work with Johannesburg-based photographer and sculptor, Jake Singer, on Joburg City Hustle (2015) and Intersections To This City (2014) - presented at Sustainable Empires (Venice, Italy) and Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art (USA). He is a recipient of the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2017 award and 2018 Ampersand Foundation Fellow.​

William Kentridge

William Kentridge (born Johannesburg, South Africa, 1955) is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, theatre and opera productions. His practice is born out of a cross-fertilisation between mediums and genres. His work responds to the legacies of colonialism and apartheid, within the context of South Africa's socio-political landscape. His aesthetics are drawn from the medium of film’s own history, from stop-motion animation to early special effects. Kentridge’s drawing, specifically the dynamism of an erased and redrawn mark, is an integral part of his expanded animation and filmmaking practice, where the meanings of his films are developed during the process of their making. Kentridge’s practice also incorporates his theatre training. Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including Documenta in Kassel, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Musée du Louvre in Paris, Whitechapel Gallery in London, Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen.

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
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Date & Time

14 July 2018 at 13.00–14.30