Art is often largely underestimated as a tool for education in schools. Outside of the use of art to illustrate a theme or provide a creative interpretation of a concept, the power of art as an inclusive and encompassing tool for understanding and looking at the world seems quite lost. Art opens up dialogue in such a vast catchment of topics in ways that other things just cannot, and in time for the ‘back to school’ rush, the photography of Greg Pesik, ‘Nomad of the Golden Hour’, currently on exhibit at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation (DAF) seeks to do just that - to open up the floor for encompassing all kinds of conversations about the world around us.
Though Pesik typically moves around in the corporate world, he has always made a point of using his trips for business as a way to expand his check-list of places he’s visited. “For me, photography has been a hobby and a passion for the last 30 years. In my professional life I’m involved with software technology – either running or helping manage companies—and that profession has allowed me to travel all over the world. Because of this passion, I take my camera everywhere and, over the last couple of years, I’ve tried to be far more dedicated to exploring the art form, rather than just snapping pictures of where I’ve been; this body of work is the result of that.”
In using these trips as a way to explore new places, he began documenting things he’s stumbled across in his wanderings with photography, and it has grown into the series of work seen in ‘Nomad of the Golden Hour’. Printed on aluminum, the glossy, almost liquid-looking photos are reminiscent of commercial tourism photography, but Pesik adds his own touch - making each piece feel personal and like it is part of a story. In fact, many of the works seem to have some unknown narrative behind them - ideal for getting creative literary gears turning in children’s minds for the number of possibilities in each image: a man in a bar full of jewel-coloured bottles in Greece, or a snowy night with a single lit window that looks like some Robert Frost poem come to life, or even an apartment building in London and wondering about the lives of the people inside.
The DAF curates a show every year in September with the intention of having the space used for learning and to invigorate students and teachers alike for the new school year. Pesik’s work provides a fun and engaging background for school trips. Not only do each of the photos open up dialogues around things like the weather, history, or biology, but there is also a world map and a series of globes, showing the location where each photograph was taken to show the scope of his travels.
It is interesting to see work like this, documenting what are essentially the travels of a business tourist, when we as a country are so often the backdrop of other people's holidays and getaways, and the excitement of the children in looking at these faraway locales is palpable. Snowed-in, spooky churches in colder climes bring up questions around weather, “How cold were you in this picture?!”, “Could you see your breath!?” and give way to talks around tundra and biomes as well as the diminishing amount of daylight associated with higher and higher latitudes.
There’s an irony in seeing his personal postcards in the Bahamian context, but then there’s also a certain familiar scenario going on that most of us can understand that underpins his practice. Tessa Whitehead, who curated the exhibition alongside Saskia D’Aguilar (curator and director of the DAF respectively), shares “I think what I found interesting about his work in that regard is that he has this whole other life that we can all relate to: he has his ‘money job’ that he lives by, and then he fits his creativity into this life and it helps him familiarise himself to the places he has to be in. It’s like he’s making these little homes out of his nomadic life and that’s what photography can do. It’s what a lot of us as artists do with art in general in our lives, but this is a very clear way of showcasing that to the kids because they can see the image and then see the person who was there making it with no disconnect like you might have with painting or other media.”
‘Nomad of the Golden Hour’ is Pesik’s first solo show in The Bahamas and seeing his work presented like this has helped him identify recurring themes in his work, and this will no doubt help inform him as he moves forward and thinks more acutely and formally about his work, shifting away from using the medium as a hobby and more as an art form as he has. The DAF ran the exhibition until November 10th.