In March 2021, the Hayward Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in the UK of South African artist Igshaan Adams (b. 1982). The 2018 winner of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, Igshaan Adams lives and works in Cape Town.
The artist’s cross-disciplinary practice combines aspects of weaving, sculpture and installation whilst exploring concerns related to race, religion and sexuality. ( main image: (L:R: Installation view: Igshaan Adams, Sleep, Crawl and Carry, When Dust Settles, Courtesy of the artist and Blank Projects, Cape Town, South Africa. / )
His intricate textile works are made with an array of both natural and synthetic materials including rope, twine, copper wire, silk, wood, bone, glass and plastic beading. Adams is influenced by the teachings of Sufism, namely the idea of looking inwards to define oneself. Through his artistic practice, he is able to navigate the complex relationship between his faith and his sexuality by drawing on the material and formal iconographies of Islam, as well as the socio-political histories of creole communities in Cape Town. His extraordinary hybrid constructions evidence inner states of being, and possibilities of arriving at a sense of peace with the contradictory weave of daily life.
The exhibition consists largely of new work produced during an artist residency Adams undertook at the A4 Foundation in Cape Town and on the occasion of the show. Presented as a single immersive environment with suspended sculptures, large-scale floor-based weavings and tapestries hung on the wall, the installation responds to Hayward’s iconic Brutalist gallery space. Each work, and the exhibition as a whole, is composed of multiple patterns that explore the potential of woven material to reflect not only the multiplicities of Adams’ own identity but of broader cultural interchange.