Acrylic, wool, human hair, kanekalon hair on hessian
Welsh-Ghanaian Anya Paintsil’s autobiographical rugs weave together her mixed heritage, as they enmesh wool with kanekalon and human hair (often her own). Rug-hooking is a technique she learnt off her Welsh maternal grandmother, and her works often boast Welsh titles. Yet, their inter-woven, Afro-textured strands also riff on ornamental West African hairdos. Hence, Paintsil’s rugged offerings subtly allude to her experience of growing up Black (but Welsh-speaking) in rural North Wales.
Acutely aware of the textile-based works of feminist artists (e.g. American Judy Chicago’s contentious Dinner Party, 1974–1979), Paintsil deliberately subverts stereotypes of Black-ness, White-ness, race, identity – and belonging.
Wakelin Award 2020 Purchased in partnership with the Friends of Glynn Vivian