Igshaan Adams (b. 1982, South Africa) 

Akbar, 2017 
Nylon rope, cotton thread, and beads 
The title of Igshaan Adams’ Akbar is an Arabic male name, a reference that addresses the South African artist’s Muslim faith. A queer artist who was born of a Muslim father and raised by his Christian grandmother, Adam’s elaborate textiles address the diverse cultural and spiritual contexts that continue to form his identity. The artist has embraced Islamic spirituality and particularly Sufism, and his works might be read as enlarged prayer rugs. This is particularly felt with the second piece in this gallery, titled Theshold II, whose symmetrically woven forms recall the floral patterning of Islamic carpets and their references to a garden paradise. The large central opening in this beaded piece, combined with its title speak to intersections between material and spiritual realms.