MTSU alumnus, humanitarian displays ‘Gold of Africa’

A photo from the exhibit “The Gold of Africa.”

A photo from the exhibit “The Gold of Africa.”

Murfreesboro, TN–An MTSU alumnus who has spent much of his life mining ‘The Gold of Africa’ is putting some of it on display.

Adam Shulman’s first solo photography exhibition, ‘The Gold of Africa,’ is on view now until May 6 at Tinney Contemporary Art Gallery, 237 5th Ave. N. in Nashville.

Shulman, a self-taught photographer, took the pictures while working as a medical physicist in Senegal, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Qatar. ‘The Gold of Africa’ is a result of two divergent careers melded into a creative process.

“The mass of an entire continent lies behind their eyes or under the contours of each muscle or shadow,” said Shulman of his models, who hail from Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Shulman spent over a year shooting and editing the series, which consists of 19 images and five behind-the-scenes videos showing Shulman and the models in action. He used a Mamiya RZ67 manual camera and 6×7-cm film, which he felt would result in larger, crisper images.

The dynamic images of black men and women decorated with gold in various positions on the bodies create a startling contrast as Shulman attempts to convey that the ‘gold’ in Africa is not in a precious metal, but in the hearts and souls of its people.

Adam Shulman

Adam Shulman

Shulman, a Nashville native, has worked for more than seven years in medical philanthropy throughout Africa. He is the senior medical physicist at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research in Doha, Qatar, and a project director and trustee for Radiating Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving radiation oncology around the world.

He also has advised leading cancer centers on African projects, including the Dana Farber Cancer Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, Massachusetts, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas.

A proud product of the University Honors College, Shulman graduated summa cum laude from MTSU with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 2007. He was runner-up for the MTSU Provost’s Award, which is awarded annually to the student who best demonstrates outstanding academic achievement through involvement in scholarly activities. He earned his master’s degree in medical physics from Vanderbilt University in 2009.

Tinney Contemporary Art Gallery is open from 11 am to 5 pm, and by appointment Tuesday through Saturday.

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