Fragile identities

Tom Hickey

Research output: Other contribution


Peer reviewed through an Arts Council award of £80,000, Hickey’s complex curation and orchestration of the work of internationally influential South African artist William Kentridge, makes a major contribution as cultural intervention and scholarly research. The design of Hickey’s research project is predicated on a manifestation of Kentridge and systematic analysis of the signification and process of production of the works as a whole. Hickey examines the intersections of globalisation, politics and political, cultural and artistic representation. This curatorial research focuses on concerns of artists and cultural theorists regarding the impact of identity formation on artistic practice and forms of representation. It addresses the interrelations between social-historical context, political vision and ambition in the generation of artworks, with Kentridge’s intensely political yet determinedly unprogrammatic work iconic in these respects. Hickey’s mediation of Kentridge’s practice, with its historical backdrop of apartheid, evokes and expresses the interdependence of political engagements with identities forged from personal and collective memory. Kentridge is presented in Brighton for the first time. Conjoining performance, film, drawing, multi-media work, opera production, and original installations, the ‘Kentridge festival’ has been configured as a sounding board for scholarly dialogue and investigation in the accompanying international symposium (‘The Art and Politics of Memory and Identity’, 17-18 November 2007). The exhibition catalogue, William Kentridge: Fragile Identities, 2007 (ISBN: 978-1-903593-26-2), was edited by Hickey, who also contributed a lead essay: 'William Kentridge: Fragile Identities'. This dual-site exhibition at the University Gallery and contrasting Regency House heritage site includes concert performances of Philip Miller’s score for Kentridge’s films in the University’s Theatre, as well as video interviews with the artist, associates and critics. The exhibition sites intentionally provoke reflection on the transposition of South African images and sounds and their resonance within the context of political and cultural commentary and critique.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherArts Council; University of Brighton
Place of PublicationBrighton, UK
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2007


  • William Kentridge
  • Peer
  • performance
  • film
  • Regency House Heritage


Dive into the research topics of 'Fragile identities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this