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Ayana Ross

Artist Statement

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Ayana Ross's figurative paintings explore intersecting issues of race, gender, identity and economics, as seen in daily life in the landscape of American culture. Ross illuminates insights that draw connections between social issues and universally shared experiences. She combines traditional oil painting methods with the elaborate treatment of prints, patterns and decorative designs elevating her subjects and providing deeper context into the work.


Ayana Ross (b. 1977) is a figurative artist whose work combines traditional oil painting methods using figurative realism, with the elaborate treatment of patterns and decorative design to elevate her subjects and provide deeper context into the work.  

Through her vivid paintings, Ross captures everyday people and moments, layering narratives that address social issues, make use of historical references, and are also autobiographical in nature. Ross examines themes such as those exploring race, identity, economics, and a general assessment of our value systems.

Ross is a Georgia native, living and working in the metro Atlanta area. She holds a MA in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design, a MA in Liberal Art from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and a BS in Design and Merchandising from Georgia Southern University. Ross is a figurative and portrait and has been recognized for her work in recent years as the 2021 winner of the Bennett Prize and 2022 recipient of the NBAF Horizons Award in Visual Arts.