A poet, painter and philosopher, Etel Adnan's life and work was shaped by a profound and vibrant exchange between Arab and Western cultures. In 2024, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran is organizing the first major exhibition in Saudi Arabia dedicated to one of the most important voices in modern American-Arab literature and visual art. Living a life between Lebanon, France and California, and influenced by her travels to Mexico and North Africa, Adnan's work is characterized by her openness to different media and languages, both literary and visual. Refusing to continue writing in French to show solidarity with Algeria during the Algerian War of Independence, she began to paint using bright colors as a universal language. Alongside this, leporellos became her signature medium: the pocket-sized books unfold into several meters long, lavishly illustrated tapestries of poetry and painting. Opening up new perspectives, this catalogue brings together a large number of works from all periods that emphasize the richness and diversity of Adnan's oeuvre, and explores various themes essential to a deeper understanding of her work. A comprehensive chronology will
also enrich the book, making it not least a reference tool in Arabic.
ETEL ADNAN's (1925-2021) widely-acclaimed work was shaped by a constant immersion in new contexts and cultures. Born in Beirut to a Greek mother and father from Damascus, she grew up in an extraordinary multicultural environment. A student of philosophy in Beirut and Paris, she moved to the US in 1955 to attend Berkeley and Harvard, and taught philosophy in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1958-72. There she began to paint, deeply inspired by her encounters with the surrounding nature. Adnan returned to Beirut in 1972 to work as a cultural editor for two daily newspapers. Fleeing the civil war, she resettled in California in 1977, making Sausalito her home, with frequent stays in France.
Biografie (Etel Adnan)
Etel Adnan - Schriftstellerin, Malerin und Philosophin - geboren 1925 in Beirut, Studium der Philosophie an der Sorbonne, der University of California, in Berkeley und in Harvard. Seminartätigkeit an amerikanischen Universitäten. 1972 Rückkehr nach Libanon, 1976 Ausweisung aufgrund einer Publikation. Seit 1994 Mitglied der Bewegung "Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World". Zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen, auch in deutsch. Die Autorin lebt in Paris und Sausalito/Kalifornien.
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