Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Star Painter Shines Light on Community Hidden Treasure
By Princess Manasseh, Sentinel Contributing Writer
Published December 12, 2013

Artist Emmy Lu stands in front of a few of his pieces on display at MAAA.  The exhibit featuring his art “Eclectic Journey” will be on display through February 28, 2014.

Photo by Robert Torrance 



Vibrant with colors, Emmy Lu’s art marries classical techniques with African American culture and style.


A musician as well as painter, Emmy Lu is perhaps most known for his jazz pieces.  This portrait entitled “Jaming” is currently on display at MAAA. 

Photo courtesy of artist    

You can catch “Eclectic Journey” now on display at the Museum of African American Art in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on Macy’s 3rd Floor.


The Museum of African American Art (MAAA) located in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza has unveiled a massive exhibit by the very prolific and versatile artist, Emmy Lu. The show is an amazing amalgam of rare original paintings by a uniquely creative mind.

Opening in 1976, it’s a wonder how a museum showcasing African American art could exist in the community for over 35 years and go virtually unnoticed – sad to say but in essence that is exactly what MAAA has managed to do.  Located on the third floor of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, inside of a donated space from Macy’s – MAAA – to be fair is on the radar of some individuals who are “in the know.”  The pity is however, that the community at large is not keenly aware of this treasure.  That may soon change thanks to MAAA’s current exhibit “Eclectic Journey.” 

A collection of nearly fifty pieces, “Eclectic Journey” is the largest single artist exhibit the museum has ever seen.  Adding to the significance, the artist Emmy Lu, is world-renowned.   

Emmy’s colorful assemblages have been admirably showcased in international museums and galleries.  His pieces have been collected by celebrities, prominent business executives, and such corporations as: The Hilton and Inter-Continental Hotels, Sony Records, Warner Brothers Studios, Motown Records and many others.  Emmy’s creative variations have been compared to that of Picasso and Salvador Dali.  

Private celebrity collectors of Emmy’s work include Prince Charles, Bill Cosby, Denzel Washington, Magic Johnson, Jamie Foxx, Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, Janet Jackson, Katherine Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, Whoopi Goldberg, Holland Dozier and many others.

Originally from Uganda, Emmy began painting at three years old.  Studying art first in his native country, Emmy then traveled to Germany, England and throughout Europe to continue his education and sell his work.

Settling in the U.S. in the early 90’s, Emmy developed a love of African-American culture that began heavily influencing his work.  Through the lenses of jazz music, street culture, current events, and the ever-relatable emotions of life, Emmy painted. 

He rose to notoriety literally from the ground level.  Beginning by selling his paintings on the streets, his work soon came into the hands of art collectors with connections.  In and around the Crenshaw district, throughout Baldwin Hills, Ladera, and the surrounding areas, Emmy gained traction.  Now with a gallery in Beverly Hills and works prominently displayed internationally, Emmy has never forgotten the area that supported him early on. 

For that reason he has brought his work to MAAA for a three-month long exhibit.

“My mission is to use my art to help the community,” said Emmy.  “While this exhibit is here, I plan to auction pieces and donate the proceeds to local schools,” he shared.

Emmy says he selected each of the pieces for “Eclectic Journey” at random from his large body of work. 

“It’s a journey through many phases of my life, reflected in different styles of self- expression.”

The exhibit is a compilation of an overwhelming amount of work.  Spanning fifteen years of Emmy’s painting, the collection is immensely creative ranging from jazz themes to sassy women, celebrity faces, still life images and drawings. 

“Eclectic Journey” will run at MAAA through February 28.  For more information visit maaala.org

[email protected]

Categories: Crenshaw & Around

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