Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, expresses his emotion at the announcement of the death of Etel Adnan, Lebanese poet and painter.
Etel Adnan has produced a rich, luminous and colourful work that combines words, calligraphic and pictorial signs beyond the boundaries of traditional art forms.
Born in Lebanon in 1925 to a Syrian Muslim father with whom she speaks Turkish and a Greek Christian mother with whom she speaks French, Etel Adnan grew up in a mixture of cultures and traditions. From his native country, Etel Adnan retains an immense passion for nature and landscapes that marks his entire literary and pictorial work.
After studying philosophy at the Sorbonne and then at the largest American universities (Berkeley, Harvard), she taught, between 1958 and 1972, philosophy of art at the Dominican College of San Rafael, California. These American years profoundly marked his work. Fascinated by the coastal mountain chains, north of the San Francisco Bay, Etel Adnan published in 1986, Trip to Mount Tamalpaïs and makes it a recurring motif in his work.
In the early 1970s, she returned to Beirut and became a journalist with the French title, Al-Safa where she defends her political convictions. She also heads the Culture Department there.
Deeply humanist and committed, Etel Adnan opposes all wars in many texts. It even replaced the French language with the English language in its writings, as opposed to the war in Algeria. Later, she fought the civil war in Lebanon (Sitt Marie Rose, 1978), the Vietnam War and the Israeli-Palestinian War.
Throughout his life, Etel Adnan has continued to write essays and poems in which his simple sentences draw an immense and joyful lyrical universe that celebrates freedom everywhere.
In each of his countries of residence, Etel Adnan forges friendships with avant-garde poets and artists, such as those of the Beat Generation. These experiences nourish his work and build bridges between people’s perceptions of the world.
For the first time at the Documenta de Kassel in 2012 the work of Etel Adnan is exhibited in a contemporary art fair with a large audience. For the past ten years, his manuscript texts and paintings, which are inseparable, have been exhibited in the world’s largest museums, from the Guggenheim Museum in New York to the Mudam in Luxembourg, the Paul-Klee Centre in Berne and the Luma Foundation in Arles.
From November 6, 2021 to February 21, 2022, the Centre Pompidou-Metz offers her a carte blanche entitled “Writing is drawing” where the poet-painter gives substance to her dream of mixing calligraphy, languages and painting.
As a sign of the permanence of its artistic message, it carried, with the composer Arthur Lavandier, a project pre-selected as part of the program New Worlds launched by the Ministry of Culture as part of the culture component of France Relance, around its theatrical and poetic text Maria Medici.
Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin pays tribute to this great artist and poet of nature and the world, one of the «best friends of the universe».