Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

Celebrating Etel Adnan: Google Doodle honours the multifaceted Lebanese-American artist and poet



Google Doodle pays tribute to Etel Adnan, a pioneering figure in American literature and art, on the anniversary of her first solo exhibition

Today’s Google Doodle commemorates Etel Adnan, the esteemed Lebanese-American poet, painter, and writer, marking the date of her first solo exhibition back in 1955. Adnan, known for her vibrant and expressive works across multiple disciplines, continues to be celebrated for her profound impact on the worlds of art and literature.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 24, 1925, Etel Adnan was the daughter of a Greek mother and a Turkish father. Her multicultural background was rich with the languages of Greek, Turkish, and French, setting the stage for her diverse artistic expressions. After moving to France at 23 to study philosophy at the University of Paris, she later migrated to the U.S. to attend the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard.

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Adnan’s artistic journey began in earnest while teaching philosophy of art at the Dominican University of California. It was in Sausalito, California, where she fully embraced painting, driven by a profound belief in the power and metaphysics of colour. “Colors exist for me as entities themselves,” she once described a philosophy that deeply informed her visual art.

Returning to Lebanon, she immersed herself in the cultural scene as a journalist and editor, further broadening her influence. Her writings and paintings, often inspired by the landscapes of California and Lebanon, became synonymous with vibrant abstract expressionism.

Adnan’s literary contributions are equally notable. Her novel “Sitt Marie Rose,” set during the Lebanese Civil War, won the France-Pays Arabes award in 1977 and is hailed as a classic of war literature. Her poetry and short stories have garnered multiple accolades, including the Arab American Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award, celebrating her unique voice in lesbian poetry.

Her art, described by Adnan in terms of its dynamic and creative power, reflects her interdisciplinary approach that blends visual art with poetic expression. “Mixing colours is very engaging because you witness the birth of a new colour,” she explained in an interview, highlighting her intuitive and exploratory process in both art and life.

Adnan’s legacy as a pioneering figure in the Arab-American community and her later identification as a lesbian brought additional layers to her work, resonating with diverse audiences worldwide. Her long-term partnership with Lebanese-American artist Simone Fattal was a testament to her personal and professional dedication to art and expression.

Etel Adnan passed away on November 14, 2021, in Paris, leaving behind a rich tapestry of works that continue to inspire and influence. As today’s Google Doodle celebrates her, it reminds us of her significant contributions to the arts and the power of embracing one’s cultural and artistic identities.


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