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Published: 26 June 2021

By Andy Ross

Drawing from traditions - Igshaan Adams

Kicking Dust is an exhibition of work by Igshaan Adams, a Muslim, mixed-race, homosexual man from the South-East of Cape Town. 

In an exhibition currently on at the Hayward Gallery in London's Southbank Centre these identities are brought together through tapestry and weaving, presented as wall works, floor carpets and tangled wire hanging sculptures. On first inspection the wall hangings and carpets, made by women weavers in the artist's studio using traditional techniques, look like well-worn, familiar pieces. But they contain a secret. Igshaan interpreted "desire lines", those paths that people take instinctively rather than proscribed routes, through weaving, and then used beadwork, another tradition in South Africa, to create intricate tapestries based on paths between hostile neighbourhoods, patterns from prayer mats and linoleum flooring. Above the carpet-tapestries, tangled wire clouds hang, some with beads and threads interwoven. These represent the clouds of dust that the artist recalled seeing in the Northern Cape at a Riel Dance. You can watch a video of a competitive dance below.

This is a beautiful and thoughtful exhibition, which you can read more about here if you cannot get to the Hayward. You can see more of the artist's work here, including some close-ups showing the materials in the pieces.