Etel Adnan (b. 24 Feb. 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon); Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and visual artist. In 2003, Adnan was named "arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today" by the academic journal MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States.

Besides her literary output, Adnan continues to produce visual works in a variety of media, such as oil paintings, films and tapestries, which have been exhibited at galleries across the world.

She lives in Paris and Sausalito, California.

...Though she grew up speaking Greek and Turkish in a primarily Arabic-speaking society, she was educated at French convent schools and French became the language in which her early work was first written. She also studied English in her youth, and most of her later work has been first written in this language.

At 24, Adnan traveled to Paris where she received a degree in philosophy from the Sorbonne. She then traveled to America where she continued graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley and at Harvard University. From 1952-78, she taught philosophy of art at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael. She has also lectured at many universities throughout the US.

Adnan returned from America to Lebanon and worked as a journalist and cultural editor for Al-Safa, a French-language newspaper in Beirut....

Adnan also works as a painter, her earliest abstract works were created using a palette knife to apply oil paint onto the canvas – often directly from the tube – in firm swipes across the picture's surface. The focus of the compositions often being a red square, she remains interested in the "immediate beauty of colour". In 2012, a series of the artist's brightly colored abstract paintings were exhibited as a part of documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany.

Inspired by Japanese leporellos, Adnan also paints landscapes on foldable screens that can be "extended in space like free-...
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Stephen Reily


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