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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Photographer Devin Allen Premieres Exhibition at Julio Fine Arts Gallery

Enrique Muchacho

Loyola University Maryland’s Julio Fine Arts Gallery opened its new exhibition on Feb. 22 from Baltimore artist Devin Allen.

The exhibition, titled “A Piece of Me Died with You,” tackles themes of gun violence, grief, and coping in Baltimore. It also will serve as the Common Text Exhibition in the gallery.

The press release given by the gallery said, “Allen is a Baltimore native who is deeply invested in activism to break down racial injustices, tying in beautifully with the message of this year’s Common Text: We have to fight the injustices at every level to get what is right for our children, our communities, and our city.”

The exhibition tackles more than that. Dan Schlapbach, Professor of Photography, Visual and Performing Arts, claims that it takes a personal side with its relationship to Baltimore as well as to gun violence.

The exhibition was originally inspired by the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

“Subsequently, a lot of the work is about his community and his friends who are dying from gun violence. So, it’s really beyond the gun violence to the relationship the Baltimore community has with the police department as well as the crime in the city. So, it’s really a personal evocative about his relationship with the people who have died as a result of gun violence,” Shlapbach said.

Despite the origins, Schlapbach believes that it is an incredible experience for students to see his work on display.

“It is a very moving work. It is about his relationship to people, so I think it’s important for students to look and see the fragility of life and how quickly and easily it is taken, and how important it is to work for social justice to try to eliminate these inequities that allow this sort of thing to happen and encourage students to look at Baltimore at a broader expanse of a community,” he said.

Devin Allen first rose to prominence when a photograph of his from the Baltimore Uprising made it to the cover of Time Magazine in 2015, making him the third amateur photographer to do so. Since then, his work has centered a lot around the city and mainly the communities around it. 

Gallery Director Megan Rook-Koepsel mentions that the exhibition holds more importance than it may seem.

“There’s a number of things that are special about this exhibition. The first is that it’s his first solo exhibition in a really long time and the work in this show is different from what we have seen in the past. Primarily, he works in photography, but for this exhibition, he will be showing some of his non-photography work, some of his paintings that he has been doing for the past few years,” Rook-Koepsel said.

The “A Piece of Me Died with You” exhibition is open from Feb. 22 to March 27. To view photographs of the Opening Reception, click here.

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