Sending a Bonner scholar to do humanitarian work in Africa makes sense. Letting an art major loose with her camera amongst the wildlife in the savannah also makes sense. With such a combination, there was bound to be an interesting outcome.
Emily Julian, a junior at MC, set out on a month-long excursion to South Africa this past July to take part in a photography program. Through conservation organization African Impact, Julian was joined by a group of international photographers to document the animals that inhabited the South African landscape.
During her travels, she encountered lions, elephants, zebras and a great number of animals that many people only dream of seeing. On top of this, Julian and her crew spent a lot of time interacting with locals who lived in a nearby village.
Her photos went to help in conservation programs for animal education, but the people of Africa also left a lasting impact on her.
After returning to Maryville, she didn’t just relish in her adventures. In collaboration with the Happy Africa Foundation, Julian put on a charitable photo show. All the proceeds from sales of her photos go to benefit the Mdletshe (Mid-ee-chee) school, which educates a group of extremely impoverished children.
If the school can raise enough money to construct a protective fence and an improved education building, it will be eligible for government-funded, daily meals. According to Julian, this would be a monumental improvement for the lives of the school’s children, many of whom walk up to five miles every day just to attend classes.
On Nov. 18, the gallery opened to great success. A large crowd of people filled the foyer of the Clayton Center for the Arts to hear Julian speak about her trip and to view her photography.
The show has already raised over $600, and many of her pictures are still available for purchase. There are more than 80 pictures to choose from, ranging from large canvas pieces to 5-by-7-inch mounted prints.
Many pictures have been stuck with orange dots, which signify that they have already been purchased, but Julian can order new prints if anyone would like to buy a certain photo that is already sold out.
Interested parties should contact Julian at [email protected].
The gallery will be open in the foyer of Clayton Building A until the week of finals.
For Julian, the trip was a life-changing experience, and the success of her photo gallery was a huge personal victory.
“I just want to thank everyone that came opening night because it was a really great show and it meant a lot to me that that many people were here,” Julian said. “This is something that I’m very passionate about.”