Isthmus /ˈIs0.məs/ (noun): a geological strip of land
connecting two bodies of land; in Islamic terminology,
an intermediate realm between the earthly and
the spiritual.

The seeds for this project were sown by our teacher, who gave us a series of Divine Names to ground our artistic practise in the Divine Reality: Ya Salam (O Peace), Ya Wadud (O Affectionate), Ya Latif (O Subtle), and Ya Hafiz (O  Protector). This dhikr (remembrance  meditation) returns our awareness to its primordial state of non-separation,  helping us to perceive these Divine  qualities in the natural world and in  ourselves. 

 We began our creative exploration on Andalusian soil, echoing the practise of Andalusi mystics of “reading” Creation as a tangible Book of God. In Al-Andalus, a sophisticated body of botanical and agricultural knowledge was  developed, as the arid, hostile  environment was transformed into a  garden of abundance. Plants were viewed as sentient companions that  deserved respect and compassion. Their medicinal uses saved these  manuscripts from the Inquisition’s  bonfires; recent Spanish scholarship suggests that these manuscripts were in fact authored by women.  

 In ISTHMUS, we have imaginatively  given voice not only to often-overlooked plants of this biosphere, but also to the lost feminine voice of Andalusi  women: land-stewards, healers,  rememberers of the Divine. May it help to heal the wounds of history, and give a tangible sense of returning to the sacred garden of the heart.