SSB AWAY New Mexico | Jasmine Hirst Reflects on her time in Abiquiu

Some Serious Business generously afforded me the opportunity to escape the city and to ponder life in the desert for two weeks. I am so grateful to Susan Martin, Quintan Ana Wikswo and Matthew Contos for choosing me to participate in SSB Away and their gracious welcome. I also thank Alex for allowing me to stay in his magical home.

It took some time to detox from the city, the internet and TV. Susan kindly took me to a sacred Native American Indian dance celebration, to Taos and the Rio Grande, to swim in the Rio Chama, to a women’s meditation group, to participate in a sacred Incan flute ceremony, to experience ancient Petroglyphs and to buy necessary supplies.

And then I would return to my accommodations and it was just me, the desert and the hummingbirds. I watched them for hours every day. For the first time in decades I listened to silence. I watched the storms roll in and magnificent rainbows emerge. At night I looked at the starry sky that is usually hidden by New York’s luminosity. I thought about my life. I thought about the things that were so important to me when I was younger and how I find these very things utterly meaningless today. Even Art. When I think of all the horror in the world, what has my Art done to change anything? Nothing. I tried to work out what to do with the rest of my life. And every day despite these reflections, I filmed, or photographed, or drew. Nearing the end of my retreat, I was considering making a short film. I have now returned to New York City. These are dark times. The circumstances evolving around me, tell me with more urgency that Art is meaningless. And despite these impulses to do some pragmatic good in the world, I finished editing my little film. It will make no difference to the betterment of this planet. But I made it anyway. I am an Artist. I make Art despite myself.