Paris-based painter Ealy Mays is featured in a show at Atlanta’s Hammonds House Museum through June 26. “To Pass Through and Be Gone,” an exhibit by Thorton Dial, Thorton Dial, Jr. and their contemporaries, is also running concurrently until Sunday.
Mays, who has spent the last 15 years living and working in Paris, is hailed as one of the most outstanding African-American artists of his generation. The child of a doctor, Mays grew up in Dayton, Ohio where he was evaluated as being “slow” and put in special education classes in his all white elementary school. He proved his teachers wrong when he attended medical school in Mexico. While in Mexico he found his true calling to be a painter. He was deeply influenced by the major Mexican artists of the day including Frida Kahlo, Diego Riviera, Clemente Orzoco and Rufino Tomayo, who became a mentor. Tomayo’s paintings of red watermelons were inspirations for Mays’ paintings of blue watermelons.