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Blod (2022)

Anya Paintsil

acrylic, wool, synthetic hair, alpaca, mohair and human hair on hessian

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Cardiff


Image is currently unavailable



Craft, Textile


Acrylic, Wool, Synthetic hair, Alpaca, Mohair, Human hair


140 x 110 cm

Accession Number:

NMW A 25099


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society with the support of the Derek Williams Trust, 2022/23

Ownership history:

Purchased from Ed Cross Fine Art, London by the Contemporary Art Society, with support from the Derek William Trust, 14 September 2022; presented to Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Cardiff, 2022/23


Black (presence)
Anya Paintsil creates rugs using wool, braiding hair and human hair. Rugmaking brings her back to her Welsh roots, paying homage to the creativity that emerged when she was taught the rug hook technique by her maternal grandmother. Paintsil noticed the similarities between that craft and the adornment and intricacy of West African hairstyles, ultimately weaving these together with her Ghanaian heritage. The subject of Paintsil’s works is often her family, drawn from stories and memories of childhood and the world around her.

Blod (2022) takes its inspiration from the story of Blodeuwedd, one of the many tales to be found in The Mabinogion. The Mabinogion is a 12th-13th centuries collection of ancient Welsh legends, myths and tales. Blodeuwedd was created to be the wife of Llew, who was decreed unable to marry a mortal woman. Magicians called Math and Gwydion created a beautiful woman from nine flowers amongst which were oak, broom, primrose and meadowsweet. They called their creation ‘Blodeuwedd’ meaning ‘Flower face’. Blodeuwedd is also the ancient name for an owl, into which she was turned as punishment for falling in love with someone else.

Blodeuwedd is considered by some to be the Welsh Goddess of spring bringing warmth and new life, in the form of flowers after the barrenness of winter. In modern interpretations she is seen as a feminist deity, rebelling against her male creators and the destiny they set out for her, instead she followed her heart.

Through its connection to the Welsh myth and tradition this textile fits well within the Amgueddfa Cymru collection. Paintsil’s Welsh titles and focus on Black figures makes it clear that there are many ways to be Welsh. This is a conversation the museum is keen to address.

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