Humanitas Chair in Contemporary Art University of Oxford, UK

06 May 2013

William Kentridge is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent artists, internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, theatre and opera productions.

Born in Johannesburg, the son of two anti-apartheid lawyers, he studied Politics and African Studies at the University of Witwatersrand in the 1970s. He went on to study Mime and Theatre at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, working in various areas of television, film and theatre. Back in Johannesburg he co-founded the Junction Avenue Theatre Company and collaborated on projects with the Handspring Puppet Company.

William’s work draws on varied sources, including philosophy, literature, early cinema, theatre and opera to create a complex universe where good and evil are complementary and inseparable forces. Although he moves back and forth between media, his primary activity remains drawing and he sometimes conceives of his films, theatre and opera productions as an expanded form of drawing.

The artist has spent much of his career intensively exploring themes that resonate with his own life experience as well as with the political issues that most concern him. ‘I am interested in a political art,’ he has stated, ‘that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain endings.’ His work transforms sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories and it has continually evolved as his subject matter has departed from a specifically South African context to confront more general concerns of social injustice, revolutionary politics and the power of creative expression.

Thinking on one’s feet & Museums: experience versus numbers

Thinking on one’s feet: A walking tour of the studio
A lecture by William Kentridge

Museums: experience versus numbers
A lecture by Ivo Mesquita

Chaired by Seamus Perry

Monday 6 May 2013, 4-6pm
Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre, Saïd Business School, Oxford
Free admission
Doors will open at 3.45pm
The event will be followed by a drinks reception to which members of the audience are warmly invited

Date: Monday, 6 May, 2013 – 16:00 – 18:00
Venue: Said Business School
Speaker: William Kentridge​

Pictures and Texts
Pictures and Texts A symposium with William Kentridge, Ivo Mesquita and Estrella de Diego Otero
Chaired by Shearer West
Thursday 9 May 2013, 5-6.30pm
Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College, Oxford

Free admission
Doors will open at 4.45pm
The event will be followed by a drinks reception to which members of the audience are warmly invited

Date: Thursday, 9 May, 2013 – 17:00 – 18:30
Venue: Grove Auditorium, Magdalan College, Oxford
Speaker: William Kentridge

​Ivorypress has published a record of the lecture given by William Kentridge. This publication is not for sale. Available upon request at:

Organised and sponsored by Ivorypress