Path of the Upright: Spiritual identity woven into textile design

Stefania Morland tells us why she nominated this artwork for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2018.

Textile art can raise deep questions of identity, says artist Igshaan Adams. It is his own experiences living as a creative, gay Muslim man in South Africa that inspired him to create this massive wall installation, Path of the Upright, which has been nominated by fashion designer Stefania Morland for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa.

This fabric-based piece of art is named after a translated phrase found in the first chapter of the Quran. Path of the Upright describes mankind’s capacity for good and the lifelong pursuit for nobility. For Adams, it also represents a meaningful prayer that has provided comfort to him in times of adversity. This artwork exemplifies the coming together of tapestry and spirituality.

Although Path of the Upright refers to divine concepts and deep introspection, it was made with entirely mundane ingredients. Braided synthetic ropes, the kind normally used to make outdoor washing lines, make up the bulk of Path of the Upright. Adams makes all of his tapestry artworks by hand on a giant loom at his studio in Cape Town. It is his process of upcycling everyday materials to create something extraordinary that inspired Morland to nominate this artwork.

“As an artist, I think I can give a person one moment of reflection or one moment of considering a different perspective,” says Adams. “Emphasis on beauty and design is absolutely important because it has a real effect on the viewer.”

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