South African artist born in Johannesburg. He took a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and African Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and then a diploma in Fine Arts from the Johannesburg Art Foundation. At the beginning of the 1980s, he studied mime and theatre at the L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. He had hoped to become an actor, however: "I was fortunate to discover at a theatre school that I was so bad an actor [... that] I was reduced to an artist, and I made my peace with it.". Between 1975 and 1991, he was acting and directing in Johannesburg's Junction Avenue Theatre Company. In the 1980s, he worked on television films and series as art director.
Kentridge is perhaps best known for his animated films. These are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again. He continues this process meticulously, giving each change to the drawing a quarter of a second to two seconds' screen time. A single drawing will be altered and filmed this way until the end of a scene. These drawings are later displayed along with the films as finished pieces of art.