Igshaan Adams


Igshaan Adams’ work investigates hybrid identity, particularly in relation to race and sexuality. Adams was raised in a community racially classified in South Africa as ‘coloured’ under apartheid legislature. The term ‘coloured’ is still used in South Africa to refer to the creole community of mixed raced origins. An observant but liberal Muslim raised by Christian grandparents, Adams occupies a precarious place in his religious community because of his homosexuality. His work speaks to his experiences of racial, religious and sexual liminality, but breaks with a strong representational convention in recent South African art. Adams uses the material and formal iconographies of Islam and ‘coloured’ culture to develop a more equivocal, phenomenological approach towards these concerns.

Adams (b. 1982, Cape Town) graduated in 2009 with a Diploma in Fine Art from the Ruth Prowse School of Art, Cape Town. His first solo show, Vinyl, was held at the AVA Gallery in 2010, followed by In Between at Stevenson Gallery (2011), If that I knew at the Rongwrong gallery in Amsterdam (2013), Have you seen Him?(2013) and Parda (2015) at blank projects. In 2012 Wanted Magazine selected Adams as one of its 12 Young African Artists, and in 2013 he was awarded the IAAB/Pro-Helvetia residency in Basel, Switzerland. Lately, Adams was selected for the 2014 edition of Sommerakademie im Zentrum Paul Klee, in Bern, Switzerland, and has had a permanent sculpture commissioned for the Wanås Konst Sculpture Park in Sweden. Adams lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Read Igshaan Adams' spotlight here.

Adams lives and works in Cape Town. He uses nylon rope, string, beads and found fabric, to create tapestries that draw upon his upbringing in the ‘coloured’ community (an Apartheid-era racial classification of communities of mixed-race origin, still used today). He is also influenced by his upbringing as a Muslim in his Christian grandparents’ home, and the precariousness of balancing his faith with his sexuality. He employs the materials and iconographies of Muslim and coloured culture, to offer a novel, affective view of cultural hybridity. as seen in his solo presentations, ‘Please Remember’ (2015) at Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam and ‘Parda’ (2015) at blank projects. Adams has also participated in numerous group shows, including ‘Furniture’ (2015) at blank projects and ‘Sacre du Printemps’ (2015) curated by AA Bronson at the Grazer Kunstverein (Graz, Austria).

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