Speaking of investing in young artists, do yourself a favour and go to the Standard Bank Gallery, which will be showing When Dust Settles, the much anticipated solo exhibition by Standard Bank Young Artist Igshaan Adams, from 27 July to 15 September.
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 internalise 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 understand 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.’
As an artist, you can’t make work to get rich or famous. I make what I feel compelled to make, for me creativity remains a sacred force that responds to honesty
Adams is the 2018 winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art. Presented annually, the prestigious award culminates in a solo presentation of the recipient’s work, launched at the National Arts Festival in June before travelling to institutions nationwide. Following its recent premiere at NAF, Adams’ When Dust Settles will conduct a nationwide tour of museums and institutions across seven cities.
Drawing upon the material and formal iconographies of Islam and coloured culture, Adams’s cross-disciplinary practice is an ongoing investigation into hybrid identity and liminality, particularly in relation to race, religion, and sexuality.
For the inaugural exhibition of When Dust Settles, Adams presents an eclectic and multi-sensory large-scale installation, bringing together aspects of sculpture, textiles, found objects, furniture and performance to create an immersive environment at the 1820 Settler National Monument’s Gallery in the Round.
To read more about When Dust Settles, purchase our July 2018 issue, or continue supporting the arts by subscribing to our monthly magazine.