Seven questions with Anya Paintsil

Lydia Figes, Art UK, September 23, 2021

"Born in Wrexham, North Wales, but now based between Manchester and Chester, Anya's work proudly utilises historic rug-hooking techniques passed down by generations of Welsh women in her family, while celebrating the innovation of Black and Afro hairstyling. Hair is a central motif in Anya's work and, in particular, the loaded cultural and political implications of having Afro hair in a predominantly white country. By regularly cutting off her own hair for inclusion in the work, Anya physically and symbolically weaves herself into the fabric.


Historically, embroidery and textiles have been relegated to the feminine and domestic spheres, something Anya consciously references. But she also speaks to the present, challenging assumptions within contemporary culture. For example, that hair (and in particularly Afro hair) doesn't belong on the walls of the white cube gallery space, or that Afro hairstyling can't be regarded as a 'high' art form."