The celebrated South African artist William Kentridge was
recently elected an Honorary Academician: a reflection of the esteem in which
his colleagues at the Royal Academy hold his work.
Richly associated with knowledge and life, trees are a recurring theme in Kentridge’s œuvre. Many of the works here come from a series of drawings in Indian ink made on encyclopaedia or dictionary pages that have been torn apart and reassembled.
The form and character of different indigenous African trees are examined in the works on show. Kentridge has placed his large drawing of the lekkerbreek, a brittle and beautiful tree often used for firewood, opposite the entrance so that it can be seen clearly from the adjoining gallery. The largest work in the room, the lithograph Remembering the Treason Trial, refers to the trial of Nelson Mandela, who was represented by Kentridge’s father Sir Sydney Kentridge, a former High Court judge in South Africa.