William Kentridge’s breath-taking animations take the complex history of South Africa as its focus, and particularly the legacy of apartheid. Often contrasting the daily life of an individual with major historical events, Kentridge’s films do not set out to tell us what to think, but instead evoke a range of conflicting emotions that align us at one and the same time with the victims and the perpetrators of injustice.
The films are often humourous and absurdist, reflecting on the insanity of an apartheid policy presented as a rational system of government. His amazing range of animation techniques include the use of charcoal drawings, which are erased and re-worked for each individual frame so as to make a full-length film, as well as shadow puppets and cut-out silhouettes.
The animations sometimes also incorporate documentary photographs and footage, set alongside cartoon figures, underlining the farce-like nature that even the historic and tragic events of South Africa can assume.