Art

Kentridge unearths Africans' lost war stories in ambitious new work

'The Head & the Load' is a sold-out hybrid performance that's being called artist William Kentridge's 'most ambitious project to date'. The project's composer Philip Miller and musical director Thuthuka Sibisi tell us more

08 July 2018 - 00:00 By Graham Wood

This Wednesday, as part of the UK's massive art programme commemorating the centenary of World War I, 14-18 NOW,  a 70m-long stage inside the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in London, will showcase William Kentridge's latest work, The Head & the Load - a hugely ambitious artistic response to a commission to tell the story of the African porters and carriers who served in the war.
Kentridge worked with composer Philip Miller and music director Thuthuka Sibisi, choreographer and dancer Gregory Maqoma and a huge cast to create a piece of hybrid performance art that takes the form of "an interrupted musical procession" combining music, dance, film projections, mechanised sculptures and shadow play.
The run at the Tate Modern is completely sold out; it's a hotly anticipated event in the four-and-a-half-year programme of centenary commissions that have commemorated the war.

"Since 2014, we've commissioned around about 100 projects across all art forms," says Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW, who commissioned the work. "We set ourselves a massive target in the beginning of reaching 10 million people in the UK with our programme, and we so far have reached 30 million people."
WATCH | An inside look at The Head & the Load..

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