Art - Africa redeemed in Rome
Artist South African William Kentridge has left his mark along the River Tiber’s banks.
- Friday, 29 June 2018
A famous figure in the contemporary art world, William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955. Versatile and ironic, , his work is a powerful combination of politics and poetics, which exploit art to send real messages. Born in a family of lawyers of Jewish-Lithuanian extraction devoted to defending apartheid victims, Kentridge has a very marked political and social approach and represents Africa’s great yearning for redemption.
On 21 April 2016, to celebrate the founding of Rome, he had everyone buzzing when he inaugurated
“Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome”. The public art project was inspired by the thousands of years of history of the Eternal City and created along the walls lining the River Tiber, between the bridges of Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini. The 550-metre-long freeze was made as negative image. That is, the biological patina was cleaned that had accumulated over the years on the travertine walls and that will gradually return over time. The work was completed after three years of study and shows 80 figures, some as tall as 12 metres, taking part in a sort of procession that essentially represents Rome’s triumphs and defeats, from the she-wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus to actor Marcello Mastroianni and director Pierpaolo Pasolini, to mention but a few.
And now unfortunately, in spite of the noble concept of leaving such an openly available work, it appears that it has already become a victim of vandals who’ve covered the murals with graffiti.