Igshaan Adams

Jan-Henri Booyens

Jared Ginsburg

Bronwyn Katz

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Donna Kukama

Herman Mbamba

Sabelo Mlangeni

Kyle Morland

Cinga Samson

Gerda Scheepers

James Webb

Pedro Wirz

Billie Zangewa

Igshaan Adams

Igshaan Adams was born in 1982 in Cape Town, South Africa. Combining aspects of performance, weaving, sculpture and installation that draw upon his upbringing, his cross-disciplinary practice is an ongoing investigation into hybrid identity, particularly in relation to race and sexuality. Raised by Christian grandparents in a community racially classified as ‘coloured’ under apartheid legislature, he is an observant but liberal Muslim who occupies a precarious place in his religious community because of his homosexuality. As such, the quiet activism of Adams’s work speaks to his experiences of racial, religious and sexual liminality, while breaking with the strong representational convention found in recent South African art. He uses the material and formal iconographies of Islam and ‘coloured’ culture to develop a more equivocal, phenomenological approach towards these concerns and 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, Matters of Concern (2019) at La Verrière in Brussels, Material Insanity (2019) at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Marrakech, In This Imperfect Present Moment (2018) at the Seattle Art Museum, and Ravelled Threads (2018) at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. Adams has been selected for a number of artist residencies, among them the I.D.E.A. Residency Project in Milan, Italy, 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 culminates in a solo presentation of the recipient’s work, conducting a nationwide tour of museums and institutions.

Adams lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.


curriculum vitae

1982 Born in Cape Town, South Africa



2009 Diploma in Fine Art with a Distinction in Mixed Media, Ruth Prowse School of Art, Cape Town

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


solo exhibitions

2019 When Dust Settles, Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg

2019 When Dust Settles, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth

2019 When Dust Settles, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, Bloemfontein

2019 I am no more, Akershus Kunstsenter, Oslo

2018 When Dust Settles, Iziko South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town

2018 When Dust Settles, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg

2018 When Dust Settles, Gallery in the Round, Grahamstown

2017 Al Latîf, blank projects, Cape Town

2016 Oorskot, blank projects, Cape Town

2015 Parda, blank projects, Cape Town

2015 Please Remember, A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam

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

2013 If that I knew, Rongwrong Gallery, Amsterdam

2011 In Between, Stevenson, Cape Town

2010 Vinyl, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2009 Jou Ma se Poes, graduation exhibition, Ruth Prowes School of Art, Cape Town


group exhibitions

2019 Mapping Black Identities, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis,

2019 Kubatana, curated by Kristin Hjellegjerde, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Øvre Eiker

2019 Matters of Concern, curated by Guillaume Désanges, La Verrière, Brussels

2019 Sculpture, Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Réunion, Réunion Island

2019 Material Insanity, Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakech

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

2019 CONDO London, hosted by Corvi-Mora and greengrassi, 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, Third Floor Galleries, Seattle

2018 Pulling at Threads, Norval Foundation, Cape Town

2018 Ravelled Threads, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

2018 blankGalerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin

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

2018 Da Uno a Dieci, Galleria Massimo Manini, Brescia

2017 Les jour qui vient, curated by Marie Ann Yemsi, 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; curated by Live Art International, 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 / The Wanås Foundation, Knislinge

2014 next thing you know, blank projects, Cape Town

2014 Fortunes Remixed, The Bag Factory at ARTsouthAFRICA Gallery, Cape Town/ Port Elisabeth/Johannesburg

2014 No Fixed Abode, The New Church Museum; curated by Candice Allison, Cape Town

2014 Between Subject and Object: Human remains at the interface of Art and Science; curated by Josephine Higgins, Kathryn Smith and Penny Siopis, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town

2014 Blind Spot, Performance Art Programme at the South African National Arts Festival; curated by Ruth Simbao, Grahamstown

2014 Bismillah, National Arts Festival Grahamstown, South Africa

2013 Three Abdullahs, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town

2013 This is the thing, blank projects, Cape Town

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 in the CBD, Cape Town

2010 Laboratory of Recycled Revolutions, Greatwalk and More Festival, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town

2010 Materiality, ORE Gallery, Cape Town

2010 Swallow my Pride, blank projects, Cape Town

2010 Greatest Hits 2009, AVA Gallery, Cape Town


awards + residencies

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

2018 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Visual Art

2015 A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam

2014 Rhodes University residency and culminating exhibition, SLIP and Mbali Khoza, Albany Museum, Grahams Town, South Africa

2014 Sommerakademie im Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

2013 IAAB / Pro Helvetia residency, Basel


teaching / community work

2010 -14 Philani Child Health and Nutrition Centre – Art Teacher / Facilitator to mothers producing art and craft products as an income-generating program, Cape Town

2012 Facilitated a workshop for abused woman from Ihata womans shelter at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town

2008 Facilitated part-time art classes for underprivileged kids in Bonteheuwel for the NGO Backdrops, Cape Town

2006-08 Volunteer at Triangle Project, a non-profit LGBT organisation



2013 Popty Bach,  Llanfihangel-ar-Arth, Wales

2012 Participated in Thupelo 2012 hosted by The Bag Factory, Johannesburg

2010 and 2007 Koekkenaap Art Workshop organized by the Department of Arts and Culture, Cape Town

2010 Thupelo International workshop, ‘Interventions’, Cape Town

2010 Co-facilitated workshop at Goodhope Art Studio

2010 One Minute Video workshop, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town

2007 Greatmore Art Studios mentoring month workshop, for young emerging artists.

2007 The Abazobi workshop initiated by the Robben Island Museum, Cape Town

2007 The Thupelo International Art Workshop organized by Greatmore Studios, Cape Town


publications, essays + reviews

2019 Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art, Phaidon Press, UK

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

2018 Healing is always at the heart of all my efforts – visual artist Igshaan Adams,

Cape Talk, South Africa

2018 Allie, N. When the dust settles a conflict of identities remains, Business Day, South Africa

2017 Igshaan Adams, blank projects, South Africa

2016 Zanotti, D. The best faces of emerging contemporary art, Wired, Italy