Ones to Watch: The Definitive Art Stars of 2021

Charlotte Jansen, Elephant, February 2, 2021

'These artists are on the rise this year. Keep your eyes peeled—you’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of them in 2021.'




"It was love at first sight when I saw Anya Paintsil’s work in the flesh during a brief interlude between lockdowns last year. There just aren’t many artists out there who manage to make work that’s as political as it is fun. The unique texture of her work comes from techniques like rug hooking and embroidery, and introduces cotton, real and synthetic hair, hessian and wool to speak materially about her dual Welsh and Ghanaian heritage. Her images deal with the female gaze, personal relationships and collective prejudices, grounded in the specifics of her own experiences (places and people pop up in her titles), but certainly relatable and resonating beyond them. As someone who, like Paintsil, grew up in a mixed race family in a non-urban area in the UK, it’s so refreshing for me—and many others I’m sure will agree—to finally see this perspective out there. The fact Paintsil is already being picked up after graduating last year is a testament to the need there is for such perspectives. Paintsil’s work is on show at the Whitworth, Manchester, when it opens again. She will also have two works on view in Swansea at The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery post-lockdown, and she’s showing in spring at Crafts Council Gallery, London." (Charlotte Jansen)