Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 113. PLATE 7.

Lot Closed

March 22, 04:49 PM GMT


12,000 - 18,000 GBP

Lot Details


Igshaan Adams

South African

b. 1982

Plate 7, Neoscope Series 2014

Islamic burial cloth, fabric, thread

195 by 138cm., 76¾ by 54¼in.

blank projects, Cape Town

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Lloyd Pollak, 'Faith and Ambiguity: Igshaan Adams’ Parda', Artthrob, 9 March 2015

Rahel Aima, 'Beaded Affairs: Igshaan Adams', Mousse, Issue 74, January 2021

“I am driven by the 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?”

The formal influence of Islamic iconography is writ large in Adams’s practice. His Parda series concerns itself with the artist's marginal status as 'coloured' as classified under Apartheid legislation; as part Christian and part Muslim; as a homosexual and free-thinker in a predominantly conformist culture. He is also by vocation an artist, which is an anomaly in his community where the Hadith (the ban on all forms of representation) remains in force. 

Plate 7 is an Islamic burial green cloth decorated with yellow Koranic verses and images of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Kaaba in Mecca, shrouded by a body of Rorschach’s inkblots. The work originated from Bismillah, a performance consisting of the Islamic cleansing ritual performed on a corpse before burial, usually by the closest same sex relative. During the performance his father cleansed and wrapped Igshaan's body in three sheets of white linen and positioned it on the green burial cloth. Ever since Igshaan heard this precept from the final sermon of the prophet Mohammed, “Make sure you die long before your death”, he started questioning its real meaning, investigating and interpreting death as a medium of liberation. As the artist claims: “Only through darkness, we understand light”. In this context, Igshaan's symbolic death represents his search for a higher state of being. We cannot know what meanings Adams read into the Rorschach blots, and thus his own ambivalent responses to his culture, are not made privy to the viewer.

Adams is currently the subject of two major museum exhibitions: Igshaan Adams: Kicking Dust, which opened at the Hayward Gallery in 2021, is currently on view at the Kunsthalle Zürich, while Igshaan Adams: Desire Lines opens at the Art Institute Chicago on 2 April 2022.