South African artist, Igshaan Adams, practices performance, weaving, sculpture, and installation. Born in Bonteheuwel, a township in Cape Town, Adams draws upon his background to contest racial, sexual, and religious boundaries. This intersectional topography remains visible throughout his practice and serves as a palimpsest upon which traces of personal histories are inscribed and reinscribed. He explains,
“I’m interested in the personal stories recorded on the surface. What is recorded is not necessarily always a factual account but can be what is imagined – a combination of myth-making and meaning-making”.
Adams approaches materiality through his own subjectivity. Often, cultural and religious references are used in conjunction with surfaces that have always been present throughout his life. And so, thread, beads, wire, linoleum, cotton twine, and fabric all make an appearance in his work. His interest in the material oscillates between the intuitive process of handling different substances as well as a formal inquiry into how various materials behave in different contexts and how they transfigure or evolve depending. Likening the material’s potential for evolution to his own potential for evolution, Adams is engaged in broadening his ideas of selfhood in an ongoing process of covering and uncovering, doing, and undoing.
To date, Adams has held solo exhibitions at Hayward Gallery (London), Casey Kaplan Gallery (New York), SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah), Akershus Kunstsenter (Oslo), blank projects (Cape Town), A Tale of a Tub (Rotterdam), Rongwrong Gallery (Amsterdam), Stevenson Gallery (Cape Town) and AVA Gallery (Cape Town). He has also participated in numerous group shows, both locally and internationally, including Who Are We Are Who (2020) at the BRAUNSFELDER in Cologne, Allied with Power (2020) at Perez Art Museum Miami, Risk (2019) at A4 Arts Foundation, Ngoma: Art and Cosmology (2019) at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Mapping Black Identities (2019) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Material Insanity (2019) at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), and In This Imperfect Present Moment (2018) at the Seattle Art Museum.
Adams has been selected for several artist residencies, among them: A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, the Sommerakademie im Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland, and the IAAB Pro Helvetia residency, Basel, Switzerland. In 2018, Adams was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art. Presented annually, the prestigious award culminated in a solo presentation of the recipient’s work, which conducted a nationwide tour of museums and institutions in South Africa.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa
Diploma in Fine Art, Ruth Prowse School of Art
Short Course in Professional Photography
National Certificate (N6) in Art & Design, College of Cape Town
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (forthcoming)