Artists We Love: Igshaan Adams


Igshaan Adams, winner of the 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, is an artist to watch. We chatted to him to find out what he has planned for the year ahead.

What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?

I started out considering the influences my domestic environment had on my identity: my upbringing; the internal conflict about my spirituality, race and sexuality; and the dynamics within my family. Now my work is more abstract. I remain engaged with the relationship between the sacred and the profane. Overriding themes are still centred around self, but from a mystical point of view.

What inspired your latest body of work?

For my solo exhibition, I grappled with the dynamics of chaos and order in an attempt to unravel the rigidity of certain universal laws.

Tell us more about your creative process.

I’m often inspired by the materials themselves and how they can be used to express emotions. I used to draw and make preliminary sketches a lot, but now I work more intuitively.

What drives you as an artist?

There’s a simple need to create to the point where if I don’t, I feel unsettled. I enjoy feeling that my work forms part of something far bigger than myself.

What do you love about contemporary South African art?

That we are now, I believe, being noticed for the right reasons. I think South African art is driven not only by conceptual inquiry but also aesthetic resolve.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

I will show at the National Arts Festival as the SBYA in July. In September I start a performance-based residency in Sweden, and I’m working on a group show in Norway for early 2019.

To see more of Igshaan’s work, visit