Next Big Things: Igshaan Adams
Working across performance, weaving, sculpture, and installation, the South African artist explores materiality, phenomenology, and identity
Igshaan Adams is a powerful new voice in textile art, crafting large-scale sculptural weavings that shed light on complex themes of hybrid identity, race in postapartheid South Africa, generational trauma, and religion.
Inspirations: He draws on everything from religious prayer rugs to the patterns made over time on linoleum in working-class houses across Cape Town. “The surfaces recorded the movement and the history within our homes,” says Adams, who recently had a show at the SCAD Museum of Art. “I mythologize the stories of these families.”
Unique process: His labor-intensive creations utilize a community of family, friends, and neighbors. “We buy bags of beads, and we mix them like paint and bead together,” the artist says. “It’s an amazing energy.”
Up next: In March 2021, Adams will have a show at the Hayward Gallery in London before his first solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan in New York in May. A major show at the Art Institute of Chicago is planned for 2022. caseykaplangallery.com
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2020 Winter Issue under the headline “Next Big Things.” Subscribe to the magazine.
“Igshaan’s work manages to beautifully capture various references like medieval tapestries and antique prayer rugs combined with feelings, patterns, and images in a gripping mesh of mixed identity that mirrors his own multilayered upbringing.”Loring Randolph, director of programming, Frieze New York