Elevating voices of change: DJ E-Clyps shares the story behind his new Artlink exhibit downtown

Determination. This is the single most important emotion DJ E-Clyps of Blacklight Media wants people to feel when seeing his VOICES exhibition at Artlink, which documents weeks of the Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Fort Wayne last summer. 

“In a lot of the photos in the exhibit, you see determination, emotion, resilience, and persistence, because you have to think that these people protested for weeks and that would probably be the only time that their voices would be heard,” E-Clyps says. “They don’t get blessed with the opportunities, as I have, to have interviews, or to be featured in a magazine or something like that. This was their one shot for their voices to be heard. So, for my photos to be able to continue that and make their voices heard much longer than after the protest ended, that was kind of the goal all along. I’m blessed with the opportunity to make it possible.”

Photo courtesy of DJ E-Clyps/Blacklight Media.

Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, E-Clyps initially went to downtown Fort Wayne to protest himself. As a photographer of more than six years, he says he always keeps his camera at arm’s reach, and upon arriving to the protests and witnessing the outpouring of support for justice, he began to capture what would be weeks of Black Lives Matter protests downtown. 

“I just started shooting, and I ended up shooting throughout the whole protest, so then what happened when I started posting the photos on social media, a couple of followers reached out and said, ‘You know, you really should put this in a book.’” E-Clyps says.

DJ E-Clyps

While some of his protest photos elevated Fort Wayne voices in national publications, like TIME Magazine and New York Magazine, E-Clyps initially shrugged off the idea of putting together a book, but he eventually decided to do it. His book VOICES is now available at Barnes and Noble.

E-Clyps went on to select photos from his book, which would be featured in the VOICES exhibit. He was especially excited for this exhibit at Artlink because he’d always said if he were ever to do an exhibit, he wanted it to be downtown.

“It’s something that I really felt was important to do because, let’s say the next Latino or Black kid or Burmese kid or something like that walks downtown and then sees this exhibit, it will give them hope just to see that it’s possible to be down there, as well,” E-Clyps says.

Photo courtesy of DJ E-Clyps/Blacklight Media.

As he reflects on the protests he documented in Fort Wayne, the city where he was born and raised, what he wants to see—now, more than ever—is actual change.

“I really want to see it not just be something that happened,” E-Clyps says. “I’d rather see it as something that initiated change. It will really be sad for people to have protested for the many weeks they did, not just in Fort Wayne, but across the country and all across the world, and then just let it fade back to the way things used to be. People were out there because they wanted change. Let’s really make that change happen and not just reminiscence on what it could look like.”

The VOICES exhibition can be seen at Artlink, 300 East Main St., through March 21, 2021, following state-mandated COVID-19 procedures. Artlink is open Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m. E-Clyps encourages schools, universities, and larger groups interested in virtual tours to reach out for more information.

Signup for Email Alerts