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
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.