Reflections of the Future The latest in a series of revolving-door exhibitions at the Lewis Museum showcases MICA’s talented students of color.

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It’s hard to top the Reginald F. Lewis Museum’s “Reflections” exhibit. The show (full title: “Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans”) features a series of black-and-white photo portraits by Terrance A. Reese that highlight the spaces in which some of the most prominent black cultural figures lived and worked. The figures are in the photos, but hidden—you have to find them reflected in the mirrors concealed within a busy foreground. It’s subtle, it’s fascinating, and it feels truly original.

If it were to be topped, though, it would be with the crackling energy of its pre-exhibit, “Reflections of Baltimore.” Guest curated by photographer J.M. Giordano, the revolving accompaniment to the original “Reflections” focuses on new work from Baltimore-based artists, changed out monthly.

This month’s must-see installment (the second in the series) is “Reflections: We, Too, Are MICA,” a collection of paintings and mixed-media art from students of color in MICA’s Painting and General Fine Arts departments.

The exhibition is named for Langston Hughes’ iconic 1926 poem, which ends with the line “I, too, am America.”

“I wanted to do something with young artists, and I thought of MICA,” says Giordano, “but someone said ‘Isn’t that all white kids and gentrification?’ They had a point.”

With the help of Clyde Johnson, MICA’s Associate Dean for Identity and Inclusion, however, Giordano identified six artists after doing studio visits. Fittingly, their work is closely tied to their identities as both people of color and members of other identifying groups: Tyler Ballon favors religious iconography tied to his strong faith, Mark Fleuridor brings his Haitian-American experience into his mixed-media works, Drew Gray emphasizes cultural abstraction, Moses Jeunes’ work centers on his Black Queer identity, Destiny Belgrave depicts race and spirituality through papercuts, and Monica Ikegwu illuminates the Black experience in Baltimore.

The work is stunning, rich in technique and distinct in its messaging. The artists’ talents, in fact, remind Painting department head (and accomplished artist in his own right) Tony Shore of a group of African American students who took MICA—and later the art world—by  storm about a decade ago. (See: Didier William, Kenyatta Hinkle, Jacolby Satterwhite, all of whom have showed prolifically, won massive art-world awards and been featured in the New York Times.)

“There’s this energy, a strong group of young artists building a strong community,” says Shore. “It’s an exciting time.”

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Tyler Ballon

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Mark Fleuridor

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Drew Gray

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Moses Jeune

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Destiny Belgrave

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Monica Ikegwu

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