To Become a Sea

In one of her letters to Fawwaz Traboulsi, published in Of Cities and Women (1993), Lebanese artist and poet Etel Adnan wrote that if it weren’t for the sea, Beirut would not have survived devastation. “But there is salt on the ground, in our mouths, on our clothes, in our hands; something that resists putrefaction,” she told him.

In Arabic, there is a saying that goes: “Do a good deed and throw in the sea.” The sea here is a metaphor for what we leave behind us in order to move on. It speaks of our capacity to let go and to transform. Throw in the sea is about releasing what stands in our way, what we no longer need, what is not in flow. It is an invitation to be like the sea: always in motion, ever changing, and yet perpetually harmonious.

Project commissioned by TBA21-Academy as part of The Current III: “Mediterraneans: ’Thus waves come in pairs’ (after Etel Adnan)”, curated by Barbara Casavecchia