Galleria Continua
San Gimignano
Beijing
Les Moulins
Habana

Born in Beirut in 1925 to a Syrian Muslim father and a Greek Christian mother, Adnan grew up among the landscapes of Lebanon and Syria before moving to France for a time, and then to the majestic plains of America.

Educated in a Catholic convent of French nuns in Beirut, in 1950 Adnan moved to Paris to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. In January 1955 she went to the United States to pursue post-graduate studies in philosophy at U.C. Berkeley, and Harvard. 

From 1958 to 1972, she taught philosophy at Dominican College of San Rafael, California.

In 1972, Adnan moved back to Beirut and worked as cultural editor for two daily newspapers—first for Al Safa, then for L’Orient le Jour. She stayed in Lebanon until 1976.

Since writing her first book of poems " Moonshots " more than twenty years ago, Adnan has published many books in English and French, written the texts for two documentaries made by Jocelyne Saab, on the civil war in Lebanon, which were shown on French television as well as in Europe and Japan, written two plays "Like a Christmas Tree" and "actress" , made ​​a film about Calamity Jane in collaboration with Delphine Seyring and an opera with her  "Love Poems". Several of Etel Adnan’s poems were set to music, including "Adnan Songbook" by Gavin Bryars and "Nepsis" by Zad Moultaka.

In 1977, her novel Sitt Marie-Rose was published in Paris, and won the “France-Pays Arabes” award. This novel has been translated into more than 10 languages, and was to have an immense influence, becoming a classic of War Literature. 

The works of Adnan are part of many private collections and museums around the world such as the Royal Jordanian Museum, Tunis Museum of Modern Art, Sursock Museum in Beirut, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the British Museum in London, the World Bank Collection and the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington DC to name a few. In 2010, the artist participated in the "Memory Marathon" at the Serpentine Gallery in London, in 2012 she took part to dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel. In 2014 her works have been shown at the Withney Biennial (New York) and in the same year the Mathaf (Doha) dedicated her a retrospective exhibition curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist. In 2016 Serpentine Sackler Gallery (London) held a wide solo show.

Poet, short story writer, essayist, and artist, Etel Adnan is a major figure in contemporary culture. Considered one of the most important representatives of the Arab intellectual diaspora, Adnan is also a pioneer of women’s rights. Her first paintings date from 1958, the year she moved to the San Francisco of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Snyder in order to teach philosophy at the University of California.

Deeply in love with nature and its original symbiosis with our existence, Adnan paints landscapes without human figures. Seeking to represent only the physical beauty of the universe and the intense bond of love she has with it, the artist executed her paintings with clear, confident strokes. The colors scarcely nuance one another such that it seems they have always been present. Adnan asks, “Do colors have the power to break the Time barrier, and carry us into outer spaces, not only those made of miles and distances, but those of the accumulated experiences of life since its beginning or unbeginning?”

Solo Exhibitions

2017

Déjeuner au soleil, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy

2016

Etel Adnan. The Weight of the World, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London

Etel Adnan, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

2015

White Cube, Hong Kong

Etel Adnan, IMMA, Dublin

Galerie Lelong, Paris - New York

Etel Adnan. La joie de vivre, Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich

2014

Etel Adnan. In All her dimensions, Mathaf, Doha

Cipm - centre international de la poesie, Marseille, France

Writing mountains, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg

Etel Adnan, San Gimignano, Galleria Continua, Boissy-le Châtel, France

Galleria Continua, Beijing

Etel AdnanLe soleil amoureux de la lune, Galleria Continua, Boissy-le Châtel, France

2013

Words and Places: Etel Adnan, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco,

Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

Galleria Continua,  San Gimignano, Italy

Maison de la poesie, Paris

2012

Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg

2010

Europie Gallery, Paris

Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

2009

Bonnafont Gallery, San Francisco

2007

Janine Rubeiz Gallery, Beirut

Eileen Curtis Museum, Sausalito, California

2006

Arte Mare, Bastia, Corsica, France

2004

Janine Rubeiz Gallery, Beirut

1999

Janine Rubeiz Gallery, Beirut

1998

Salazar Gallery, University of California, Sonoma

Darat al Funun, Amman

1992

Gallery 50X70, Beirut

1990

Kufa Gallery, London

1989

Salazar Library, University of California, Sonoma

1988

Administration Bldg, Fort Mason, San Francisco

1987

Samy Kinge Gallery, Paris

1986

Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, California

1985

Perception Gallery, San Francisco

1984

Perception Gallery, San Francisco

1983

Perception Gallery, Fort Mason, San Francisco

Alif Gallery, Washington D.C.

1982

AI Sultan Gallery, Kuwait

1979

Asilah Festival, Morocco

1978

Galerie L' Atelier, Rabat, Morocco

1977

Galerie La Roue, Paris

1973

Dar el Fan, Beirut

1971

Sight & Insight, The Cannery, San Francisco

1969

Dominican College Gallery, San Rafael, California

1968

Unitarian Center, San Rafael, California

1965

Karamanduca Gallery, San Francisco

Mount Angel College Gallery, Mount Angel, Oregon

1964

Karamanduca Gallery, San Francisco

1963

Dominican College Gallery, San Rafael, California

1961

O'Hanlon Gallery, Mill Valley, California

Group Exhibitions

2017

Etel Adnan / Gerard Richter, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York

2015

Shajah Biennale, Sharjah art Museum, E.A.U.

Take Me (I’m Yours), La Monnaie de Paris

After Babel, Moderna Museet, Stockholm

2014

Whitney Biennial, New York

Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York

Was wir zeigen wollen, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg, Germany

2013

HIWAR, Darat al Funun, Amman

2012

Documenta 13, Kassel

2009

Taswir Martin Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin

2007

5 Artists, Oriental Museum, Moscow

5 Artists Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

2006

British Museum, Londo

2004

Palazzo Reale, Naples, Italy

2003

Jordan National Gallery, Amman

Musée Municipal de Thionville, France

2001

L'art du livre Arabe, Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris

Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

2000

Art Paris. Le Carrousel du Louvre, Paris

1998

London Artists' Book Fair, Barbican Center, London

Bradford-Smock Gallery, San Francisco

1997

Fine Arts Gallery, University of Arkansas, Lafayette, Arkansas

Bradford Gallery, San Anselmo, California

London Artists' Book Fair, Barbican Center, London

1996

Andre Demedtshuis, Wielsbeke, Belgium

Book Art VIII, National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.

1995

Le Arie del Tempo, Studio Alaya, Genoa, Italy

Inter-American Gallery, Dade Wolfson Campus, Miami

Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago

Illinois Nexus Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia Hallie Brown Ford Gallery, Salem, Oregon

Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, California

1994

Demedtshuis, Wielsbeke, Belgium

Galerie de Paperbusse, Ostende, Belgium

4 Women Artists, Alif Gallery, Washington D.C.

Forces of Change, National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.

1993

Galerie Natkin-Berta, Paris

Andre Demedtshuis, Wielsbeke, Belgium

1991

UNESCO, Paris

Mediatheque, Mureaux, France

20 ans, 20 artistes, L'Atelier, Rabat, Morocco

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

1990

Evenements urbains, Grenoble, France

Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy

Awards

2014

Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, France

Lifetime Achievement award by the Radius of Arab American Writers Inc. (RAWI)

Women Playwrights International honours Adnan with its annual Etel Adnan Award for Women Playwrights

Adnan has been the president of RAWI: Radius of Arab-American Writers, Inc.

Adnan was honoured with an homage ceremony in Beirut

SmallPress Traffic Homage to Etel Adnan

2013

Winner of the 2013 LAMBDA Literary Award for Poetry for Sea and Fog

Winner of the 2013 California Book Award for Poetry for Sea and Fog

2010

Winner of the 2010 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award for Master of the Eclipse

Winner of the Arab American National Museum's 2010 Arab American Book Award for Master of the Eclipse

1977

Amitié Franco-Arab Prize, awarded by the Association de Soidarité Franco-Arabe, for Sitt Marie Rose

Anthologies

2008

Inclined To Speak: An Anthology of Arab-American Poetry. Hayan Charara (ed), University of Arkansas Press, Little Rock.

Excerpts from The Indian Never Had a Horse and To Be in a Time of War. American Hybrid. Cole Swensen & David St. John (eds), W.W. Norton, NewYork.

The Beirut Hell-Express: The Love Poems. Women of the Fertile Crescent. Three Continents Press, Washington D.C.

Excerpt from The Arab Apocalypse. For Palestine. Jay Murphy (ed), Writers and Readers

2007

Begin Here: Poems for Palestine & Lebanon. Kamal Boullata & Kathy Engel (eds), Interlink Books

2006

Homelands: Women's Journeys Across Race, Place, and Time. Seal Press.

The Power of Death. Hikayat Short Stories by Lebanese Women. Roseanne Khalaf (ed).

New York: Telegram Books

2003

Letter to Mayakovsky. Enough. Leslie Scalapino (ed), O Books, Oakland.

2002

Art on the Line. Essays by Artists About the Point Where their Art & Activism Intersect. Jack Hirschman (ed), Curbstone Press, Portland.

2001

A Crack in the Wall. New Arab Poetry. Margaret Obank & Samuel Shimon (eds), AI Saqui Books, London.

2000

A Different Path An Anthology of the Radius of Arab American Writers. D.H. Melhem & Leila Diab (eds), The Ridgeway Press, Detroit.

1999

Excerpt from In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country. The Vintage Book of International Lesbian Fiction. Naomi Holoch & Joan Nestle (eds), Vintage Books, New York.

There Are No Frogs in This Wide Sky. World's Edge. Sherry Reiniker (ed), Word Press/Open Meeting, Japan.

1998

Excerpt from Sitt Marie Rose. Das Weise Meer. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt. First Passion. Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade. Clifford Chase (ed), Rob Weisbach Books, New York.

1997

Excerpt from Journey to Mount Tamalpaïs. Beside the Sleeping Maiden: Poets of Marin. C.B. Follett (ed), Arctos Press, Sausalito.

1996

My Friend Kate. 2000 And What? Stories About the Turn of the Millenium. Karl Roeseler & David Gilbert (eds), New York Trip Street Press

1994

Excerpt from The Beirut-Hell Express. The Woman That I Am: The Literature & Culture of Contemporary Women of Color. Dr Soyini Madison (ed),  St. Martin's Press, NewYork.

1993

Deep Into The World. Lusitania 5: For/Za Sarajevo. Autonomedia, Brooklyn.

Excerpt from The Beirut-Hell Express Women Poets of the World. Joanne Banker & Deirdre Lashghari Macmillan (eds)

1992

Excerpt from The Arab Apocalypse. Resurgent: New Writing by Women. Lou Robinson & Camille Norton (eds), University of Illinois Press, Champagne.

1990

Opening The Gates: An Anthology of Arab Feminist Writing. Margot Badran & Myriam Cooke Virago (eds), Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

1989

Excerpt from The Beirut-Hell Express, Grape Leaves. Gregory Orfalea & Sharif Elmusa (eds), University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

1984

Wild with Gentleness: Introducing Russell Chatham. Russell Chatham a Monograph. Winn Books, Seattle.

1981

Contemporary Writing from the Continents, Mundus Artium. vol. XII & XIII

1980-1982

And Not Surrender. American Poets on Lebanon (Arab-American Cultural Foundation)

1977

In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country. Mundius Artium: Arabic Issue, vol. x, no.1. University of Texas, Dallas.

1976

The Enemy's Testament. Twentieth-century Women's Poetry in Translation: The Other Voice. Joanna Banker & Derdre Lashgari (eds),  WW, New York.

1975

Pablo Neruda is a BananaTree For Neruda, For Chile. Walter Lowenfelds (ed), Beacon Press, Boston.

1973

The Battle of Angels. From the Belly of the Shark. Walter Lowenfels (ed) Vintage Books, New York.

1968

The Enemy's Testament. Where IsVietnam? Walter Lowenfels (ed),  Doubleday, NewYork.