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  • Sevine Abi Aad

Ana Luisa Islas - 'No man is an island'

Updated: Apr 29, 2018

As I open a blank document to start this post on Ana Luisa Islas and her Artist’s Residence, I stumble upon an unsaved document I must have created a while back. It’s just one line I had written. And it says ‘Why did you run out of stories to tell me?’.


Ana is my age. She’s incredibly smart, well-read, well-mannered, her home resembles her - an eclectic mix of books, vinyls, vibrant colorful artifacts and handcrafted objects and tapestries from Mexico - her hometown - over walls brightly painted in white. A white as bright as the sadness it carries.

Because Ana’s pain is white. Her pain is tied to a loss. A loss so heavy, you can feel its presence in every nook and cranny of this beautiful warm lived-in interior. It’s as though it had seeped into the cracks of the walls and floors of this old home she had had been sharing with her late husband Manel for the past 3 years…

Initially a space they made their own to host friends and parties, the space became that of self-expression through grief and mourning… Manel and Ana loved to cook for friends, they loved music and they knew how to have fun.

After Manel passed away, Ana decided to open up the space, the space of her island - as she likes to call it - her beautiful heart and home, to strangers.

Like-minded and like-hearted strangers who aren’t your typical Barcelona tourists. Strangers who will soon become like family as they have the privilege to attend the private concerts Ana organizes at her Residence.

‘I’m not searching for people. I just think that they come’. Those are Ana’s words.

When you know she has lost her soul mate and life partner, this is when you put Ana’s statement into perspective… I can’t imagine what it does to you, to be faced with the ravaging power and authority of death, this irremediable event that will not wait for you to mentally prepare yourself. Death is a bully. Death is a rapist. Any rape victim will tell you how this brutally savage thing will come and grab you by the throat, shove its heavy hands all over your body and desecrate your most intimate secret self, it will come and smash everything in its path, especially the tiny seeds of flowers you had carefully planted for your soul…

You are never the same after that. That is clear to me when I see Ana. She holds on to life by letting it be, with a sense of detachment and acceptance in the face of the inevitable. She now lets it all just ‘be’ or ‘come’.

And, just like death came a year ago, life continues to come every day, knocking on her door.

And with life, music, friends, family, warmth, love…everything that has made a home out of this beautiful house.


‘Et sans prévenir, ça arrive,

ça vient de loin 

Ça s’est promené de rive en rive,

le rire en coin 

Et puis un matin, au réveil,

c´est presque rien 

Mais c´est là, ça vous émerveille 

au creux des reins 

La joie de vivre 

La joie de vivre 

Oh, viens la vivre 

Ta joie de vivre’

- Barbara

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