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Traditional Textiles: Art by Igshaan Adams

A gallery installation of a carpet with unraveled thread hanging from the ceiling69, string curtain, steel ring, prayer carpets, dowel, rod

Igshaan Adams’ work looks at complex themes of race, religion and sexuality, stemming in particular from the artist’s own experience growing up in South Africa, and his current identity as homosexual and a practicing Muslim.


A sculpture consisting of carpet threads hanging from two steel ringsI am home, round carpet, string curtain, wooden ring, wire, thread, silk roses, acrylic glue

The artist works frequently in traditional textiles such as Muslim prayer rugs, and in at least one performance, a burial shroud which is wrapped around the artist by his father. I love the way these works interact with the gallery space, where the often brightly coloured and intricately patterned pieces of carpet and cloth become intensely amplified by the stark, white walls on which they are placed.


Where some artists use scraps and samples of cloth to explore connections, in Adams' works the cloth is frequently in the process of unraveling, whether attached to a mostly-intact tapestry and falling to the floor or hanging from the ceiling already in a state of disarray. These seem to express to the process, either of deterioration, or of uncovering the reality behind a façade. 


Documentation of a performance in which the artist's father wraps him in traditional burial clothPlease Remember II, performance

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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