This is Jesse Hewit.
Ya’ll, I’m not gonna beat around the bush: 2019 has been a doozy. It felt like the world was extra on fire. As I reflect on the big and fast and difficult swirl of the past year, I think of just how much I needed CounterPulse. I needed pulsating, breathy, sharp art. I needed clear, vibrant, community-based action. I needed to see bodies being free, and I needed to feel free alongside those bodies.
At the 2019 CounterPulse Festival, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, jose abad, and Gabriel Christian premiered Alif is for An(n)als, envisioning a queer revolution in a furutrist Muslim world. As new staff, I was tasked with introducing the show on the night that the world learned about the massacre at Christchurch Mosque in New Zealand that killed 51 peaceful islamic worshippers. I remember standing in front of an audience that was heavily populated with queer Muslims, my words stuck in my throat, as I tried to find a way to respectfully acknowledge the thickness of grief and fury in the room. I fumbled through some statement of gratitude to be there, in community, amidst such a painful time for so many. Upon reflection, I realized that I didn’t need to do anything…because the art took up where my abilities failed.
The art that night held and shredded and resurrected all the sadness, imagination, and ritual that was needed. This is what the art does—and what the artists do —again and again.
CounterPulse is, to me, a place to gather; a place to spin a doozy into a revival; to dance and sculpt and craft and cry and evolve…together.
I ask you to consider giving to CounterPulse during this dark, beautiful, and important time. We must continue to create this place where artists can grow their abstracting, future-gazing brilliance. Let’s springboard CounterPulse artists, together.
Photo of Jesse Hewit by Robbie Sweeny