'African hair braiding and Welsh rag rug making may not seem to have much in common. But in the hands of Anya Paintsil, these two distinct art forms are masterfully interwoven to create striking assemblages that explore the new art star’s dual identity.
Growing up Ghanaian in a rural white farming community in Wales, Paintsil remembers watching her grandmother rug hooking, a simple, working-class pastime. She also vividly recalls traveling for miles to have her hair done in a Black salon, resourcefully learning to rebraid and reattach the extensions at home. “I was around 10 years old when I realized there is a lot of crossover between traditional British textile techniques and Afro hairstyling,” says Paintsil, who is currently preparing for solo exhibitions with Ed Cross Fine Art in London from May 25 to June 29 and at Hannah Traore Gallery in New York in September. “It’s fascinating to me that they emerged in completely different places in the world for very different reasons.”'