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Emory hosts solo exhibition of works by painter, musician Ayé A. Aton
Ayé A. Aton’s work

An exhibition of Ayé A. Aton’s work is on display at Emory University’s Atlanta campus through Dec. 14. The exhibit, presented by Emory’s Visual Arts Department, includes individual paintings and a recreation of Aton’s mural work.

Art enthusiasts can view works by painter and musician Ayé A. Aton — including the opportunity to see a recreation of his mural work — through a solo exhibition presented by Emory University’s Visual Arts Department. The exhibit, on display Oct. 20–Dec. 14 at the Emory Visual Arts Gallery, is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and on weekends by appointment.

Aton’s paintings on canvas, board and paper can be categorized in three ways: heads emerging from a transcendent world, imagining an alternate cosmos for Black existence and positioning your inner self inside the spiritual world, often by reinterpreting Egyptian mythology. 

During the 1960s, Aton (1940-2017) painted intergalactic murals inside various homes across Chicago’s South Side Black Belt. He continued painting, even after joining the avant-garde jazz ensemble Sun Ra Arkestra (the “Arkestral Institute”) as percussionist for several years in the 1970s. He painted murals in the rooms of Marshall Allen, John Gilmore and Sun Ra while living in the group’s headquarters, a rowhouse in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood. 

While photos of these walls were often taken, the titles, dates and exact addresses were not documented. These works were lost to time. 

The exhibition at Emory includes a recreation of Aton’s mural work in addition to other paintings. 

The Lexington Living Arts and Science Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art and University of Pennsylvania Institute of Contemporary Art have displayed Aton’s work in recent years. 

For more information on the Emory exhibit, contact Dana Haugaard or Daniel Fuller.


Emory University’s integrated visual arts co-major (IVAC) allows undergraduate students an opportunity to explore visual media and art making. Classes in art history, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, theatrical design, filmmaking, conceptual art practices, digital media and new media, as well as other academic areas, comprise the IVAC course offerings.

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