Meet the judges
Anya Paintsil is a Welsh-Ghanaian artist working primarily with textiles. From rug hooking to embroidery, her assemblages evoke tactile tapestry on the one hand, and constitute semi-sculptural interventions on the other. Frequently using weaves, braids and other hair pieces (as well as her own hair), Paintsil laces debates around race and gender into the very fabric of her work. Playful and profound, flippant and forceful, her practice engages the language of fibres — of all kinds — with interrogations of materiality and political personhood.
Dr Christine Checinska
British Art Historian and Curator of African and African Diaspora Fashion at the V&A
Dr Christine Checinska is the V&A’s inaugural Curator of African and African Diaspora Fashion. Prior to joining the V&A Christine worked as a womenswear designer, an academic, artist and curator. Her creative practice and research explores the relationship between fashion, textiles, culture and race. The cultural exchanges that occur as a result of movement and migration, creating creolised cultural forms, are her recurring themes. She has published widely on this topic, most recently “Re-Fashioning African Diasporic Masculinities” in Fashion and Postcolonial Critique, Elke Gaugele and Monica Titton (eds.), 2019. In 2016 she delivered the TedxTalk Disobedient Dress: Fashion as Everyday Activism.
Cos Ahmet is a multidisciplinary artist who uses sculpture, installation, video and performance in his work. His practice and research interests have always dealt with the relationship between the body and materiality. Ahmet’s new concerns examine how far the body intervenes with a material that changes its language each time you connect with it, and where the body stops being a body and becomes the material. By addressing the body as a medium, material, site and skin, themes of fragmentation, presence, absence, and disappearing inside forms occurs, as the body performs sculptural gestures through activating the material objects he creates.
Writer, curator and editor of Embroidery Magazine
Jo Hall is currently the Editor of Embroidery magazine (published by the Embroiderers’ Guild). Jo graduated with a degree in fine art textiles from Goldsmiths University, since when she has worked as a writer and editor for various magazines, newspapers and radio, as well as co-curating textile exhibitions.
Embroidery and Mixed Media Artist
Karen Nicol is a London based mixed media and embroidery textile designer/artist working in fashion, interiors and gallery. Karen creates concepts and designs for textiles for ready-to-wear and couture fashion. Working with many design houses including Schiaparelli and Alexander McQueen, Karen has designed interior textiles for many clients including the King of Qatar, the Pope, Estee Lauder and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Since 2010 Nicol’s large embroidered, painted and sculpted art pieces have been exhibited and sold in galleries and art fairs all over the world with solo shows in London, Paris and New York.
Karen was founder and senior lecturer of the Mixed Media MA course at the RCA. In 2015 Karen was made an RDI, a Royal Designer for industry.
Independent Textile Curator
Uthra Rajgopal is an Independent Curator with a specialist interest in South Asian textiles. In 2019, Uthra won the prestigious Art Fund New Collecting Award to build a collection of contemporary textile artworks for the Whitworth in Manchester, specifically artworks made by women artists working in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and the UK diaspora. In 2021 Uthra was appointed as Project Lead on the Sculpture Terrace / South Asia Gallery at Manchester Museum, in partnership with the British Museum, due to open in Autumn 2022. Uthra is a keen advocate of championing and expanding the field of textile arts.