1-54 London 2023: Anya Paintsil

Anya Paintsil, I am a one man band (l), 2023
Anya Paintsil, I am a one man band (l), 2023

Hannah Traore Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Anya Paintsil for 1-54 London. In this new series of tapestries, the Welsh-Ghanaian artist explores and expands on the role of the woman within the family—as carer, mother, unpaid laborer—and her existence as defined by her usefulness and by those that surround her. Building on previous work inspired by feelings of kinship with female characters from Welsh mythology and folktales, Paintsil threads figures that appear frozen with blank, empty expressions while disembodied hands creep around them, absorbing them into the background.


This body of work is made primarily through the use of latch hooking and punch needle embroidery—two of the most laborious and time-consuming tools in Paintsil’s practice. These methodologies speak to the history of women’s creativity through utilitarian craftsmanship and their domestic roles throughout history, as well as in the present. 


Alongside her fiber work, Painstil will also be exhibiting 10 works on paper for the first time.


This will be Paintsil’s third solo presentation with Hannah Traore Gallery: in 2022, she held her solo exhibition Proof of Their Victories at the gallery’s Lower East Side location, and in the spring of 2023 Paintsil presented work with the gallery at NADA New York.



Anya Paintsil works at the intersection of textile and sculpture, engaging in practices like rug-hooking, embroidery and tapestry-making; some of which she learned from family members. She frequently incorporates weaves, braids and other hair pieces as materials in her work. Painstil explores topics such as the female gaze, personal relationships and collective prejudices; topics that have been informed by her experiences growing up in North Wales in a mixed-race family. Paintsil studied at the Manchester School of Art, was awarded the Wakelin prize in 2021 and had solo exhibitions at the Glynn Vivian Museum, Swansea (2021) and We are all made of you, Ed Cross, London (2022). Her work is in the collections of The Whitworth (Manchester, UK), Glynn Vivian (Swansea, UK), Tullie House (Carlilse,UK), The Women’s Art Collection (Cambridge University, UK), The Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, NL) and Amoako Boafo (Accra, GH).

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