The Head & the Load

The Head & the Load

In the spirit of The Refusal of Timethis publication relates the creation of William Kentridge’s new multifaceted work The Head & the Load. A spectacle-performance exploring the little known history of the African porters who were part of the First World War combining music, dance, acting, screenings, and mechanised sculptures. In the same polymorphic vein as the show, the book immerses the reader in the creative process of Kentridge’s work presenting images of the performance as well as thoughts, maps, sketches, drawings developed along its creation. Collage is at the heart of the reflection building the piece and the book, where several elements and fragments are brought together “to find a provisional history” as William Kentridge explains. The Head & the Load highlights the political, human and sociological repercussions of colonial history in today’s world.

Several essays shed light on the multiple facets of this performance through, first, a historical context by David Olusoga, texts on the making of the show by William Kentridge, composer Philip Miller, choreographer Gregory Maqoma as well as music co-composer Thuthuka Sibisi. In the last essay, Homi K. Bhabha relates the different aspects of colonial history addressed in the show. 

The Head & the Load has already been presented in London and New York and will travel to the Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris, in 2021. 

Press reviews

Click here to view the video flipbook

Hardcover, 23 x 31 cm

348 pages
About 240 photographs 

Texts (English with booklet in French)
William Kentridge
Philip Miller
Thuthuka Sibisi
Gregory Maqoma
Homi K. Bhabha
David Olusoga



Stella Olivier – William Kentridge Studio

Copublished with MASS MoCA

William Kentridge, Un poème qui n’est pas le nôtre
LaM, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
February 5 – July 5, 2020
This publication has received the support of 14-18 Now: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Yukiko & Anders Schroeder, Brenda Potter. 

ISBN : 978-2-36511-224-6

59,00 €

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