Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do

My name is Anya Paintsil, I’m a textile artist and painter based in South East London. My dad is from Ghana and my mum is from Ynys Mon, the island off Wales and I grew up in North East Wales. I take lots of inspiration from my dual heritages, both in the mediums and methods I use in my artistic practices and the inspiration behind my works - I grew up in a home with a lot of West African art - masks, sculptures and fabrics such as Kente and African wax print, as well as being taught British heritage crafts such as hand rug making from my maternal grandmother.


Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

My whole practice as an artist I think really stems from an interest in women’s creative labour through history - in both textiles and my use of afro hair styling techniques. I think my art has a decidedly feminine quality - and the majority of characters I portray in my textiles are women. In terms of my career, I have felt bias and sometimes that my work has been devalued and not seen as ‘fine art’ because of the feminine connotations of the mediums I use, but I do feel this changing.


Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

My art heroines are Dindga McCannon and Faith Ringgold. Both are pioneers - I feel like my work couldn’t exist or be received in the way it is without their groundbreaking work in shifting perspectives around textile and more so black female art.



What has been the most challenging aspect of being a woman in the arts?

In my day to day - nothing - I am lucky to be surrounded by peers, collectors and gallerists who really value my work and the fact I embrace the feminine connotations of my practice and understand that I don’t seek to ‘elevate’ traditional craft techniques associated with women creative labour, but promote them. I suppose I kind of exist in a bit of a bubble - throughout my career I have mostly worked with female founded, led or managed galleries and I am quite lucky in this respect and I quite regularly have contact with amazing, driven women curators and directors from institutions and museums. I feel very lucky to be in their sphere and I have nothing but hope for the future of the art world.


What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

The details and textures! I can never quite capture it in images, I hope everyone who wants to can see my pieces in real life. I use a lot of different techniques in my practice - punch needle embroidery, hand embroidery, latch hooking, speed tufting, felting and they all create dimension and different affects in a piece.

Anya is wearing BABE SKIRT and LARUSSA KNIT