The UDHR Paintings by William T. Ayton


Inspired by the profound eloquence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Ayton UDHR Series features original paintings by William T. Ayton illuminating each of the 30 articles of the UDHR. The Ayton UDHR series of 30 color paintings (and 30 precursor black-and-white drawings) were exhibited in a five-city European tour (1991-1993) and a six-city North American tour (1997-1998), generating media coverage in international press as well as numerous radio and television interviews. In addition to media, the Ayton UDHR Series attracted the attention and support of private and public organizations, their constituencies, and the public at large, with thousands of viewers visiting the exhibit.

The UDHR exhibitions have tied into international gatherings, national events and other major initiatives that incorporate public educational activities on human rights. This approach raises the public profile of the sponsoring venue and/or event, and maximizes the outreach and impact of the artwork. Strategic partners (with art, academic, and non-profit institutions) facilitate cultural and educational programming around each exhibit, allowing them to shape the program—for an evening or a season—and benefit from the prestige and visibility of the project.

Ayton’s work is noted for bold, figurative lines depicting the human condition through sensuous, vibrant forms. His use of color and movement make the images stand out and come alive before viewers who can’t help but see themselves reflected in the paintings. The full text of each UDHR article is presented next to the corresponding painting to emphasize the powerful vision of human rights and fundamental freedoms contained in the UDHR.


European venues:

  • The U.N. Palais des Nations (Geneva), 1993
  • The World EXPO ’92 (Seville), 1992
  • The Peace Palace (The Hague), 1991
  • The International Cultural Centre (Krakow, Poland), 1991, and
  • The Human Rights Centre (Colchester, England), 1991.

    North American venues:

  • The U.S. Senate Rotunda (Washington, D.C.), 1998
  • The National Arts Centre (Ottawa, Canada), 1998
  • The Surrogate Courthouse Building (NYC), 1998
  • The San Francisco Veterans’ War Memorial and Performing Art Center, 1998
  • The Peace Museum (Chicago), 1998, and
  • The University of St. Thomas Gallery (Minneapolis), 1998.

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