The North Carolina Central University Art Museum will host a closing reception for artist and NCCU alumnus Ivey Hayes on April 20 at 3 p.m. in the museum. Hayes’ exhibit, “A Retrospective,” has been on display at the museum since Feb. 19. The exhibit showcases more than 40 years of Hayes’ work, from his early realistic landscapes and portraits to watercolors from his series on Native Americans and his self-described ‘visionary’ period.
Hayes credits his education at NCCU with introducing him to art but adds that he has always had a “God-given” talent for art. “I remember as a young child being able to draw and paint better than my teachers,” said Hayes. “The teacher would put my work on display.”
His influence for art comes from God. Hayes says God would show him exactly what and how he should paint and he would pick up the brush and follow through. His vivid imagery that captures everyday individuals includes musicians, dancers, cotton and peanut pickers, quilters and fishermen. It pays homage to his hometown of Rocky Point, N.C., a small town near Wilmington, where Hayes now lives. From geometric-abstract figural expression to large scale exaggerated figures, his work is intentional. It is no accident that his figures have small heads and extremely large lower portions of the bodies. The reason: Hayes likes to draw posteriors. “Imagine if you were a child looking up at an adult, that is how they would look,” Hayes told an audience at an opening reception at the NCCU Art Museum in February.
His story is one of triumph over tragedy. When crippling arthritis in his right hand preventing him from painting, Hayes began to paint using his left. He even learned to play the keyboard using his left hand and has begun to compose songs as well.
The closing reception will afford NCCU the opportunity to celebrate Hayes’ contribution to the world of art with a resolution in his honor.