New Orleans Artist Ayo Scott’s work addresses loss, change, grief and growth through abstract, energetic compositions that seek to preserve memories and places.
“For quite some time I have used my work as a means for digesting some of life’s tougher times,” he said. “But I also recognize with the losses brought from events like Katrina or the pandemic leave voids in many of our lives.”
Scott is one of three artists featured in “Elemental Threads: Contemporary Works by Angelbert Metoyer, Annie Moran & Ayo Scott,” an exhibition sponsored by the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University that will hang in Orville Hanchey Gallery through Oct. 29.
As an abstract painter by nature, Scott is sometimes uncertain how his work will be received.
“I like to push images of things and people to a point of abstraction…or pull abstract pieces into some more tangible forms.”
Ayo’s work has been featured in film projects and he has also collaborated other artists on public projects such as the #NOLAhasWIIINGS Project, which transformed basketball backboards throughout the city into works of art. He created a mural for the headquarters of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities that pays homage to his late father, the acclaimed artist/sculptor John T. Scott, and the history and spirit of New Orleans.
“The LEH mural is entitled ‘LESSONS’ and it shows an image of my daughter Phoenix dressed as Wonder Woman holding a Gerber daisy, my mom’s favorite flower. She is standing beside a version of my father’s street windows sculpture that is moving through space echoing my father’s kinetic works. My father was a huge influence to me and many….and my daughter never got to meet him. Creating this piece, I thought might allow their spirits to spend some time together in a space that I made for them both.”
Scott was honored by the New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund as New Orleans culture-bearer, but said that in a city like New Orleans, others are also worthy.
“While I appreciate being honored for bearing the culture of the city, I believe there are a lot more folks who do a lot more and don’t get the recognition they deserve. I happen to bear a family name that is looked upon with reverence and have been blessed to have some doors opened for me because of that. I am proud to carry and share the culture of New Orleans with the world in any ways I can.”
Scott’s connection to Cane River is through his wife, Stella Delacroix Scott. Her mother is Janet Jones Caldwell, who grew up in the area.
“While my grandmother spoke French in her youth and had French, Native and African blood, I have never identified as Creole while my wife always has,” he said. “Throughout our relationship I’ve been introduced to more and more elements of the culture and now having a daughter who is growing up identifying as Black and Creole in New Orleans and on Cane River with her grandmother, I am learning more as I watch her learn about her own culture.”
“Elemental Threads” will be on view at NSU’s Orville Hanchey Gallery, located in the Creative and Performing Arts Complex, 140 Central Avenue, Natchitoches. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays.
For more information or to view Scott’s work, visit https://ayoscott.com/.
Information on the Creole Heritage Center at NSU is available at https://www.nsula.edu/creole/.