Textile artist Anya Paintsil incorporates humour, hair and folklore to tell stories of her dual heritage

Ayla Angelos, Creative Boom, May 30, 2022

"She grew up speaking Welsh and always had a "weird little art practice" going on the side, even though she wasn't much a fan of school or art, for that matter. Having left education at 16, Anya worked full-time before heading to Glasgow and decided to study art at university – choosing illustration as her initial discipline. She got into Manchester School of Art, "quickly" swapped to fine art and graduated in 2020. The rest writes itself.


Before now, Anya's textural wefted pieces would depict people, conceived as portraits and artfully sewn to represent her siblings, friends and loved ones. Nowadays, her work is more abstract – with contorted compositions, textural weaves, body postures and expressions that denote her experiences of having dual Welsh and Ghanaian heritage. "A lot of my work is pretty tongue in cheek and comical while also reflecting identity and trauma." Along with the more literal depictions of people, Anya also references motifs and stories from her childhood, things like folklore, symbols, art, sayings and proverbs, the elements that they had "contact with" yet never fully explored or understood."