Etel Adnan

1925 Beirut

For the first time in her life she was speechless: „I didn’t want to read French or write it; it was like a boycott, a rejection“. – Etel Adnan born in a Greek-Syrian family grew up in a multilingual surrounding: one spoke Turkish in her family, Arabic in the streets and in school she was taught in French. As she became speechless she already was a famous francophone poetess. Studied at Sorbonne in Paris since 1949 she moved to USA in 1955, where she finished her studies at Berkeley and Harvard University. Meanwhile Algeria was in the war of independence. As many other Arabic intellectuals Adnan was in opposition to French politics. Departing from the French language she began to paint. She began to paint. It was a „painting in Arab“, which was „a new language, a new world“ for her. But it needed decades until her art work was noticed by a wider public. In 2012 – Adnan was 87 years old at that point of time! – she was invited to dOCUMENTA (13) and became almost overnight famous as the Arabic artist of the 20th century. (CD)

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