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Get your Head in the Clouds - Igshaan Adams: Kicking Dust exhibition at Hayward Gallery

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

Last 2 days to visit Igshaan Adams’ “Kicking Dust” exhibition at Hayward Gallery. The cross-disciplinary artist’s first solo exhibition in the UK combines aspects of sculpture, weaving, and installation in a single immersive environment that explores concepts linked to related race, religion, and sexuality.

Why “Kicking Dust”?


The title of the exhibition is a reference to Adams’ roots. His grandparents are Nama and one of the oldest indigenous dancing styles in Northern Cape, South Africa – “Indigenous Riel” or “Reildans”- is described as “dancing in the dust.” The dance itself is a passionate courtship ritual that’s accompanied by dust erupting from the ground as performers enthusiastically kick the dry ground.

Throughout the show visitors are surrounded by cloud-like sculptures made of spiralled wire, fabric, textured rope, and beads suspended from the gallery’s ceiling, hinting at the image of travelling dust particles picked up from the ground below. There’s a warm sense of journeying and movement through pathways created by placing weavings on the floor. Their tectonic shapes evoke “desire paths” - routes that pedestrians take by following their intuition rather than set itineraries.

The sense of “desire” comes across powerfully in Adams’ practice as he tries to liberate himself from standardised constructs of identity; as for desire lines, Adams describes them as human traces in a terrain that symbolise both transgression and freedom.


Another fascinating fact about his Kicking Dust exhibition is linked to the pathways that are inspired by the desire lines of the Cape Flats. This was a neighbourhood created in the 1960s under South Africa’s apartheid regime as a part of the government's attempt to force people of colour out of designated “white areas” of Cape Town.

Although the apartheid ended in 1994, people of various ethnic backgrounds - Basters, Khoikhoi, Xhosa, Cape Malays, Tswana, and Indian South Africans - continued their lives in the large government-run housing project from a profound sense of belonging forged through language, history, and established jobs.


The exhibition as a whole immersive environment as well as each individual work is made of different patterns that explore the potential of woven material to reflect broader cultural interchange through the diversity of Adams’ own identity. (see more photos here).


📍 The "Igshaan Adams: Kicking Dust" exhibition, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

📆 Until 25 July 2021.

⏰ Open Wednesday – Saturday, 11 am – 7 pm and Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm (the gallery is closed on Monday and Tuesday).

🎫 Book tickets here.

🚇 The closest tube stations are Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee, and Waterloo & City lines) - just a five-minute walk - and Embankment (District & Circle lines) - a lovely seven-minute walk.

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