Anya Paintsil in What Lies Beneath: Women, Power, Textiles

February 17 - August 28 at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge

Featuring: Miriam Schapiro, Permindar Kaur, Francisca Aninat, Enam Gbewonyo, Nengi Omuku, Anya Paintsil, Memorarte, Stella Mae Pettway (Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers), Nicola L., Tejedoras de Mampuján



"This exhibition brings together works by women artists and collectives using the medium of textiles to comment on gender and society. For centuries, needlework was dismissed as “women’s work” and excluded from the realm of fine art. Artists using fabric were rarely acknowledged or credited for their work. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, women artists have reclaimed textile-making, honouring the women who came before them.


The artists in this exhibition use a range of techniques such as appliqué, knitting, quilting, rug-hooking, collage and fabric-painting. Many of these draw on traditional craft practices that have been passed down through the generations, from mother to daughter or in sewing groups. The works on display make powerful statements about gender, race and class. They confront issues ranging from global human rights abuses to the artists’ personal experiences of living in the world.


The title, drawn from Enam Gbewonyo’s work in the exhibition, suggests the practical use of textile pieces within the home: quilts covering beds and rugs covering floors. It also points to the political subtext of the works and the multiple layers of meaning which the artists create."

January 27, 2022