Igshaan Adams

Jan-Henri Booyens

Jared Ginsburg

Bronwyn Katz

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Donna Kukama

Herman Mbamba

Sabelo Mlangeni

Kyle Morland

Cinga Samson

Gerda Scheepers

Lerato Shadi

James Webb

Pedro Wirz

Billie Zangewa

Igshaan Adams

Combining aspects of performance, weaving, sculpture and installation that draw upon his background, Igshaan Adams’s practice is an ongoing, personal investigation into identity and intersectionality. The quiet activism of his work speaks to his experiences of racial, religious and sexual liminality. Adams uses the material and formal iconographies of Islam and ‘coloured’ culture to develop a more equivocal, phenomenological approach towards these concerns and to offer a novel, affective view of cultural hybridity.

Adams states:

“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 internalize the world’s projections onto me. Initially I grappled with deconstructing my hybrid identity, focusing on my multicultural, religious and sexual identities in relation to the domestic and political environments in which they were formed, hoping to understanding the conflict I was experiencing. My focus has since shifted to wanting to know more about the self from a multidimensional, universal and mystical position. Doing and undoing, pushing and pulling, employing restraint while at the same time being open to discovering new elements of beauty through playful experimentation, all of this allows me as the artist to insert my personal inquiry into the work. My aim has always been to question and challenge boundaries in a sensitive way.” (Adams, 2017)

To date, Adams has held nine solo exhibitions at 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 Mapping Black Identities (2019) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Material Insanity (2019) at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), In This Imperfect Present Moment (2018) at the Seattle Art Museum, Ravelled Threads (2018) at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, Da Uno a Dieci (2018) at Galleria Massimo Manini, Brescia, Les jour qui vient (2017) at the Galerie des Galeries in Paris, Sacre du Printemps (2015) curated by AA Bronson at the Grazer Kunstverein in Graz and Barriers (2015) at the Wanås Foundation in Knislinge, Sweden.

Adams has been selected for a number of artist residencies, among them 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.


curriculum vitae

1982 Born in Cape Town, South Africa
Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa



2009 Diploma in Fine Art, Ruth Prowse School of Art

2005 Short Course in Professional Photography

2003 National Certificate (N6) in Art & Design, College of Cape Town


solo exhibitions

2019 I am no more, Akershus Kunstsenter, Oslo

2018 When Dust Settles, institutional tour, South Africa

2018 Al Latîf, blank projects, Cape Town

2016 Oorskot, blank projects, Cape Town

2015 Please Remember, A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam

2015 Parda, blank projects, Cape Town

2013 Have you seen Him?, blank projects, Cape Town

2013 If that I knew, Rongwrong Gallery, Amsterdam

2011 In Between, Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town

2010 Vinyl, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2009 Jou Ma se Poes, Ruth Prowse School of Art, Cape Town


selected group exhibitions

2019 Risk, curated by Josh Ginsburg, A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town

2019 Ngoma: Art and Cosmology, JAG, Johannesburg

2019 the head the hand, blank projects, Cape Town

2019 Mapping Black Identities, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis

2019 Kubatana, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Øvre Eiker

2019 Matters of Concern, La Verrière, Brussels

2019 Material Insanity, MACAAL, Marrakech

2019 Filling in the Gaps, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2019 CONDO London, blank projects hosted by Corvi-Mora, London

2018 open agenda, blank projects, Cape Town

2018 Soft Power, curated by Julie Crenn, Transpalette, Bourges

2018 In This Imperfect Present Moment, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle

2018 Pulling at Threads, Norval Foundation, Cape Town

2018 Ravelled Threads, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

2018 blank, Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin

2018 Sculpture, Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Port Louis

2018 Da Uno a Dieci, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia

2017 Les jour qui vient, Galerie des Galeries, Paris

2016 Figure, blank projects, Cape Town

2016 The Quiet Violence of Dreams, Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg

2016 3 881 days, blank lab, Cape Town

2016 The 55-Minute Hour, Trubok Factory, Cape Town

2015 Furniture: a sculpture exhibition, blank projects, Cape Town

2015 Sacre du Printemps curated by AA Bronson, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz

2015 Barriers, Wanås Konst, Knislinge, Sweden

2014 next thing you know, blank projects, Cape Town

2014 No Fixed Abode, The New Church Museum, Cape Town

2014 Blind Spot, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa

2014 Between Subject and Object, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town

2014 Bismillah, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa

2013 Three Abdullahs, Centre for African Studies, Cape Town

2013 This is the thing, blank projects, Cape Town

2013 blank projects in Johannesburg, Ithuba Arts Gallery, Johannesburg

2012 When Form Becomes Attitude, blank projects, Cape Town

2012 Ingekluer: Beyond The Borders, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2012 A Century of Self, The Copy Shop, Cape Town

2011 What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Stevenson, Cape Town

2011 Slices of Life, Infecting the City Public Arts Festival, Cape Town

2010 Laboratory of Recycled Revolutions, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town

2010 Swallow my Pride, blank projects, Cape Town

2010 Greatest Hits 2009, AVA Gallery, Cape Town


selected awards + residencies

2019 I.D.E.A. Residency Project, Nicoletta Rusconi Art Projects, Milan

2018 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Visual Art

2015 A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam

2014 Sommerakademie im Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland

2013 IAAB / Pro Helvetia residency, Basel, Switzerland


selected publications, essays + reviews
* denotes publication

*2019 Martin, C.J. Four Generations: The Joyner / Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art, Gregory Miller & Co, New York, USA

*2019 O’Toole, S. Igshaan Adams in Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary
Art, Phaidon Press, UK

2019 Allie, N. When the dust settles a conflict of identities remains, Business Day,
South Africa (published 23 January 2019)

2019 Hemmings, J. Igshaan Adams: Material Traces, Norwegian Crafts, Norway
(published 23 January 2019)

2018 Tsotsi, T. Igshaan Adams: When Dust Settles “Collective Limitations”,
Contemporary And [online] (published 31 October 2018)

2018 Wood, G. Artist Igshaan Adams stitches together the sacred and ordinary,
Wanted Magazine, South Africa (published 20 August 2018)

2018 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner Igshaan Adams challenges stilted
ways of thinking with provocative work, Sunday Times, South Africa (published
5 August 2018)

*2018 Igshaan Adams: When Dust Settles, blank projects, South Africa

2018 Drysdale, C. Uncanny Nostalgia: Igshaan Adams ‘When Dust Settles’, ArtThrob
[online] (published 10 July 2018)

2018 Maroga, K. A Subtle Benediction: Igshaan Adams ‘Al Latîf’, ArtThrob [online]
(published 23 February 2018)

2018 Igshaan Adams’ ‘Al Latîf’ at blank projects, Cape Town, BLOUIN ARTINFO
[online] (published 17 February 2018)

*2017 Igshaan Adams, blank projects, South Africa

2017 Igshaan Adams puts soul into his art, Cape Argus, South Africa (published 3
November 2017)

2016 Interview with Igshaan Adams, adjective [online] (published 16 September

2016 Pinto, G. Igshaan Adams is disarming us with quiet activism, Between10and5
[online] (published September 2016)

2016 Barnitz, M and Goyke, L. Representations of queerness in documentary films
and art, Freie Universität Berlin student wiki [online] (published 29 January 2016)

2015 Islamic Tradition meets Post-Apartheid Identity in Igshaan Adams Intricate
Tapestries, Artsy Magazine [online] (published 15 June 2015)

2015 Pollak, L. Faith and Ambiguity: Igshaan Adams’ Parda, ArtThrob [online]
(published 9 March 2015)

2015 O’Toole, S. Critics picks: Igshaan Adams, Artforum International (published
January 2015)

2015 Ball, J. Inkblots and their indices: rethreading perceptions in the work of
Igshaan Adams, Image & Text, South Africa (issue 25) (published 2015)

2014 Kinsman, H. Tracing Emerging Artistic Practice in South Africa, Another Africa
[online] (published 22 September 2014)

2012 Matthews, A. Young African Artists – Igshaan Adams, Business Day, Wanted
Magazine, South Africa (published September 2012)