Anna Delvey reflects on experience creating art in ICE detention facility as she reveals her favourite piece

Anna Sorokin, the subject of Netflix’s hit series Inventing Anna, has reflected on the process of creating her art from the Orange County detention facility where she is being held during a virtual appearance at her solo art exhibition.

On Thursday evening, The Independent attended Sorokin’s invite-only art show at the Public Hotel in New York City, where she unveiled her solo exhibit titled “Allegedly”. The exhibition consisted of 20 pieces that Sorokin, also known by the name Anna Delvey, drew while held at the ICE Orange County detention centre.

As Sorokin’s final piece of art was revealed towards the end of the show, she made a video appearance to thank and greet attendees. Guests saw the artist appear on a large television screen, from which she addressed the large crowd remotely.

“It’s amazing to see everybody,” she said, although she couldn’t see the guests through the video call. However, when asked if she felt the “love and energy” from everyone in the room, she said that she did.

While discussing her works of art, Sorokin explained that all of the pieces are new, before sharing her favourite one from the collection, titled: “Vanilla Ice”.

“I love Vanilla Ice because it just represents what I’m going through right now,” she explained.

When asked if the title of the piece was chosen because “there are a lot of white people at ICE,” Sorokin said that it was actually the opposite.

“It’s because there are none [white people],” she said.

 (Taken by Amber Raiken at the Anna Delvey NYC Art Show)
(Taken by Amber Raiken at the Anna Delvey NYC Art Show)

In her “Vanilla Ice” drawing, Sorokin sketched multiple women with their backs turned. They all wore yellow shirts, which had ICE written on the back.

Sorokin could be seen portrayed in the middle of the drawing, as a faceless portrait of herself looking forward. Her hair was drawn blonde and she has glasses on.

At the bottom left of the painting, she wrote: “White privilege application status: Denied.”

The sketch also includes Sorokin’s signature, with the artist having signed her name at the bottom right of the drawing, along with “New York, 2022”.

 (Taken by Amber Raiken at the Anna Delvey NYC Art Show)
(Taken by Amber Raiken at the Anna Delvey NYC Art Show)

While addressing the art show attendees, Sorokin also said she was inspired to draw because of her trial, which saw her sent to prison for grand larceny after pretending to be a wealthy heiress. She served less than four years of her sentence before she was released on good behaviour in 2021.

“I actually started sketching my trial, doing closing arguments,” she said. “That was one way for me to communicate with everybody, through my sketches,” she added.

Sorokin was also asked about the kinds of art supplies she had access to while in the detention centre, and whether it was pens, paintbrushes, or pencils. According to Sorokin, she didn’t have much.

“They just have the worst of everything,” she said. “We only have the security pencils here, which is so bad. It’s impossible to sharpen.”

She then explained how she was able to receive “coloured pencils and paper,” which were ordered from Amazon. However, she claimed those were the only supplies she was allowed to ask for.

 (Taken by Amber Raiken at the Anna Delvey NYC Art Show)
(Taken by Amber Raiken at the Anna Delvey NYC Art Show)

Regarding whether pencil sharpeners are allowed in the detention centre, Sorokin laughed and said that she “could not be trusted” with a sharpener.

According to Sorokin, once she gets released from the detention facility, she intends to continue pursuing her art career.

“I have so many more ideas,” she added. “And I’m just so very excited to do more of that.”

Sorokin has been detained by ICE since March 2021, weeks after her initial release from prison, for overstaying her visa. She will be sent back to Germany when she leaves the detention facility. However, she is now appealing her criminal charge and the ICE deportation order.