Jessie Golem

  • Acoustic
  • Amateur Performance
  • Classical
  • Film
  • Improv
  • Memoir
  • Multimedia
  • Performance Art
  • Photography
  • Podcast
  • Storytelling
  • Videography

I have always lived with the belief that we are all here to build a better world and I hope to leave this world in a better place than it was before. My development as a photographer and artist has grown very organically as I am self-taught. I spent many years both developing myself technically, but also discovering what mediums I was most drawn to and what I wanted my art to look like. As I’ve grown, my art has also grown, both as a means of self-expression, but also as a form of storytelling and a way to see the reality of the world; all of its beauty, and all of its imperfections. My main vehicles to drive my art are visual art in the form of photography and videography, as well as music (I am a classically trained pianist) and writing/storytelling.

In 2018, I was lucky enough to receive a basic income: a bold and innovative idea that paves the way for economic reform. I was in a basic income pilot project that took place in Ontario, Canada. The pilot was cancelled prematurely by a newly-elected government that had made an election promise to keep it.

I responded by making a portrait series where I asked people to tell me what they were using basic income for. I gave as much autonomy to the subjects as possible, by inviting them to write their own stories, in their own handwriting, on signs. What these stories showed me, was that when given opportunities, humans desire to thrive, pursue their
dreams, and lead happy, healthy lives. Their stories showed me that the economy we live in needs to fundamentally change, in order for people to not only survive, but to prosper. We are all connected, and we can build that better world where everyone in our society has equal opportunities and chances to thrive. I believe that the suffering of parts of humanity comes at a cost that everyone must pay. From this project, I grew to see the economy as a thread, weaving itself in and around humanity. For some people, this thread weaves itself into a ladder, allowing people to climb up to better opportunities. For some people, this thread is a rope, tying them up, and trapping them.

By telling stories, I’m able to remind people of the humanity behind the policies that shape and influence our lives, and encourage people to dream of that better world, and challenge people to not be content with the status quo, but to have the courage to imagine a better world, and advocate to create that world. I know which side of history I want to find myself and my stories on, and I dream of being able to look back at these stories, and see how far we have come.

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