Louis Salgar was shot to death by a stranger two years ago in his own home.
The 29-year-old was beloved throughout Miami as a punk musician, bartender, brother, and son. Unbeknown to most, Salgar was also a photographer. This week, his lesser-known craft will be exhibited at Miami Dade College's 24th-annual Arts & Letters event. The theme revolves around conflict and violence.
"In Memory of Louis Salgar: The Ultimate Ninja Warrior" opens Thursday and will feature a panel discussion pertaining to the theme April 6. His loved ones have come together to honor his memory. The Broken Shaker, where Salgar worked, is sponsoring the event and will serve mocktails. Curated by his photography professor, Tony Chirinos, the exhibit highlights Salgar's unusual lens on life.
"Louis was very creative, very generous with other students. He was just a joy to be around. His laughter was unlike anything you can imagine in your lifetime," Chirinos says. "It’s the type of relationship as a professor you want to have with all your students."
The professor began organizing the exhibit after Salgar's murder in 2014. The photos depict Salgar's life as a young adult in Miami. Some were captured on film when he was Chirinos' student. Others are more recent, taken on a digital camera.
"A lot of the photos I had never seen, and he never showed them to me. It's quite refreshing to look at. He became a great photographer," Chirinos says.
"A lot of the stuff he caught was 'Miami.' He would go out and roam around, always with his camera with him," his sister Nicole Salgar says. "We would go out to Black Point [Marina] and the Everglades. He also took pictures of friends at shows, bands hanging out, capturing that time of age they were in, documenting their time period of life."
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Although emotional and nostalgic, Nicole sees this exhibit as a way for her to "finish what he was trying to say." Louis never thought he would put together an exhibit of his photos, but he always aspired to be a professional photographer.
At the heart of the exhibit is the discussion of conflict and violence, which claimed Salgar's life. Chirinos says the the theme is also inspired by countless acts of police brutality that occurred in the past year all throughout the country.
"People in college are really the future, and those are the people who are important to target because those are the ones who will be making the big moves and changes for the community," Nicole says. "We want to bring awareness and have people pay more attention to the fact that community violence is something you can’t ignore."
"In Memory of Louis Salgar: The Ultimate Ninja Warrior"
Thursday, March 31, through Friday, April 8, at MDC's Kendall Campus. Visit mdc.edu.