Kyle Cohlmia MA Critical Studies Thesis 2021
Traveling through Space: Finding Borderless Bayt in the Poetry and Paintings of Etel Adnan
“The future is a wind,” writes Etel Adnan in her series of fifty-nine poems titled, The Arab Apocalypse. This simple, yet powerful line holds significant weight in relation to the entire manuscript and Adnan’s overall stance on identity. For Adnan, the future is an animated force at our backs. The future is invisible and colorless; it whips our hair and moves us in all directions. The future is strong, defying the confinement of physical space. The future is a home without borders. This paper explores the idea of space, both physical and mental, within Lebanese writer and artist, Etel Adnan’s literary and artistic endeavors, The Arab Apocalypse and her most recent series of paintings, Planètes. I examine The Arab Apocalypse and its place within the speculative fiction genre, Adnan’s use of color throughout the poems, and the literary work’s connection to her Planètes paintings which depict both earthly and planetary objects in the same frame. As Adnan, now 96 years old, begins to reflect on her journey beyond this life, her newest series of paintings, Planètes, looks to the cosmos for her future.