South African, 1955
bronze sculptures on wooden table with iron trestles
installation: 1.3 x 11 x .6 m
National Gallery of Canada (no. 40468.1-42)
William Kentridge's work delves deep into the political complexity that is the South African condition. In his examinationn of the legacy of apartheid, he explores loss, individual and collective responsibility, capitalism, and utopianism, as well as the tenuous nature of memory.
In "Procession", 26 bronze figures appear to be moving forward in small clusters. Many have an improvised quality; they often incorporate found objects. Some figures are bent, exhausted if not emotionally broken. The sense of trauma is undercut by a figure dancing in what can only be a pure expression of joy. Despite their differences, the individual characters seem to share a belief in togetherness and the journey forward. "Procession" is at once solemn, celebratory, revolutionary, ordinary, and horrific; it represents all processions.