Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Igshaan Adam



Igshaan Adam

Surah al Kafirun III part one two, 2016







Igshaan Adams’s (1982 Cape Town) practice coalesces performance, weaving, sculpture and installation. Born in Bonteheuwel, a township in Cape Town, South Africa, 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”.


Please Remember, 2013

He elaborates;
“I am concerned with my two environments: the internal and the external; and the constant exchange of information between the two. As I project myself onto the world, so too do I internalise the world’s projections onto me.”

IgIgshaan Adams, stukkinne stories (2020)

Stukkinne Stories, 2020

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; thread, beads, wire, linoleum, cotton twine, fabric. 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.


By die voordeur, 2020

Adams likens the material’s potential for evolution to his own potential for evolution, where he is engaged in broadening his ideas of selfhood in an ongoing process of covering and uncovering, doing and undoing.

To date, Adams has held thirteen solo exhibitions at 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. (text Circle Art Gallery)


Cloud V, 2019

Adams has been selected for a number of 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.