May 1–27

Flatrock Coffee, Tea & More

By DeeGee Lester

Stratford STEM Magnet senior Dev Bhavsar did not wait to hear inspiring words from a graduation commencement speaker
about possibilities and “going for your

 dreams.” His own personal drive, determination and consistent hard work have now landed a one-man photography exhibit at Flatrock Coffee, Tea & More opening May 1 and continuing through May 27. The coffee shop/café “where neighbors come together” is located on one of Nashville’s most diverse corridors (2640 Nolensville Pike) and regularly offers music as well as arts and photography displays, creating memories and good times for customers. The works of talented rising artists, such as Bhavsar, are among the favorites of owner Karen Estevez-Gill.

The opportunity to exhibit images selected from his several collections is exciting for the young photographer. “I love the opportunity to get my work out there and share my aesthetic vision,” says Bhavsar. “Each image has a story behind it. In portraits, a moment caught off guard can reveal so much, such as sadness cloaked in a bold expression.”

Selections for the exhibit also include scenes from his attendance at the Women’s March (“one of the most positive things I’ve ever experienced”) and an impromptu student-led immigration march, as well as unique images from downtown Nashville. “The downtown images appear to be late at night, but actually it was only about 7:00. I was very cautious,” he laughs.

The exhibit is just his latest achievement in a spring filled with recognition. As a student intern at the Parthenon, Bhavsar created a 31-minute video, The Lost History of the Parthenon (www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFXioU6uQxs), exploring in documentary form the history of the Parthenon from ancient times to the present and including both personal and Skyped interviews with top scholars in Greece and the United States. His efforts captured a Tennessee Association of Museums Award of Excellence as well as the prestigious Past Presidents Award which is selected from all Award of Excellence winners.

Another film, The Story of Stratford, was created as part of the larger Stratford Story Project. This community project initiated by Vanderbilt doctoral student Amie Thurber engaged participants from the school and neighborhood to research and document community perceptions of the school and to raise awareness of how that perception is changing. As follow-up, Bhavsar converted those findings, along with interviews and historical images, to film.

Whether through photography or film, Bhavsar’s immersion in his city is repeatedly shared with a wider audience. “This is my city. I love it. Why not take the time to explore and embrace that?”

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