Igshaan Adams - New Now London Tuesday, July 13, 2021 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • '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.'
    —Igshaan Adams
    In Parda IV, South African artist Igshaan Adams explores the complexities of identity through the materiality of weaving. His biography directly informs his work. Born in 1982, Adams lives and works in Cape Town. An observant and openly gay Muslim man raised by Christian grandparents and classified as ‘coloured’ (bi-racial) under the South African Apartheid system, Adams navigates intersections of race, sexuality, and religion through his artmaking. Strongly influenced by Sufism, Adams seeks to challenge religious and racial stereotypes by pursing the practice of looking inwards to define oneself. His exploration of the relationship between his ‘two environments’, namely ‘the internal and the external,’ is evidenced in his interest in the materiality and sculptural form of textile art which breaks through the representational mode predominant in much contemporary South African art.i
    'Navigating my way around the expectations imbedded within the stereotypes of my social roles, I continue to search for new understanding, new ways of seeing my combination of identities.'
    —Igshaan Adams
    Drawing upon Islamic iconographies, Parda IV exemplifies Adams’s exploration of selfhood. The large-scale piece was first exhibited in 2015 as one of a series of textile wall-hangings presented under the shared title of Parda, meaning a veil or curtain. Constructed from string and recycled synthetic rope made locally by a company in Cape Town, the interwoven strands represent the entwining of the different facets of the artist’s identity. The lower portion of the work is left unwoven. The loose strands, some ending in tassels, evoke his ongoing work with Islamic prayer mats and suggest that identity is unfixed and comes into being through a continual process of undoing and re-making. Through the unravelling of the veil, Adams pursues a ‘need to unearth, unmask and unveil the mysteries hidden within the depths of the Self, beyond race, class, religion, sexual orientation, and gender. Who am I, beyond my identity?’ii

    The recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art in 2018, Adams has exhibited his work widely both in South Africa and internationally. His first solo UK exhibition is currently on show at the Hayward Gallery in London. Titled Kicking Dust, Adams presents an immersive environment. Featuring wall-hung tapestries, the continued significance of the weaving techniques first employed in the Parda series is evidenced in the installation, asserting the artist’s reputation as a powerful voice working in textile art today.


    Igshaan Adams discusses the significance of the material process of weaving in his exploration of identity through artmaking.

    i Igshaan Adams, quoted in ‘Igshaan Adams’, blank projects, online
    ii Igshaan Adams, quoted in Christine Cronjé, Jonathan Garnham, Hannah Lewis, eds., Igshaan Adams, Cape Town, 2015, p. 109

    • Provenance

      Private Collection
      Aspire Art Auctions, Cape Town, 27 March 2017, lot 168
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Cape Town, blank projects, Parda, 22 January - 28 February 2015, p. 93 (illustrated)
      Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, KUBATANA, 4 May - 22 September 2019, p. 45 (illustrated)

    • Literature

      'ASPIRE - Inaugural Cape Auction 2017', Art Africa Magazine, 2017, online



Parda IV

woven nylon rope and string
224 x 156 cm (88 1/4 x 61 3/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

£20,000 - 30,000 

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Head of New Now Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 13 July 2021