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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Lebanese-American poet and artist honored in Google Doodle

Through her creative endeavors, she has left an indelible mark that transcends borders, resonating with audiences worldwide.

In a recent tribute, Google unveiled its latest Doodle on Monday, honoring the multifaceted Etel Adnan. Adnan, a Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and visual artist, is celebrated as one of the most distinguished Arab-American authors of her time. Through her creative endeavors, she has left an indelible mark that transcends borders, resonating with audiences worldwide.

Early Years and Literary Genesis

Born in Lebanon in 1925 to a Greek mother and Syrian father, Adnan’s upbringing was marked by the convergence of diverse cultures, languages, and religions. Her formative years laid the groundwork for her exploration of identity and belonging in her later works. The seminal novel “Sitt Marie Rose,” published in 1977, catapulted Adnan to literary acclaim, earning her the prestigious France-Pays Arabes award and cementing her status as a luminary of war literature.

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Philosophy, Painting, and Poetry

Adnan’s intellectual journey took her from the cobblestone streets of Paris, where she studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, to the academic halls of Harvard and Berkeley in America. It was during her tenure as a philosophy professor in California that Adnan’s artistic pursuits flourished. Immersed in the vibrant cultural milieu of the West Coast, she delved into painting and poetry, finding resonance between the abstract canvas and the lyrical verse. For Adnan, painting became a portal to her native Arabic, a language of the soul that permeated her poetic expression.

Transcending Boundaries

Returning to Beirut in the 1970s, Adnan embraced her role as an arts editor while continuing to nurture her creative spirit. Her subsequent relocation to California and later years split between Paris and Beirut exemplified her fluid relationship with geography and identity. Adnan’s oeuvre traverses continents and epochs, drawing inspiration from the intersections of East and West, past and present.

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Throughout her prolific career, Adnan garnered numerous accolades, including the distinction of being hailed as “arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today.” Her poetic collection “Time,” translated by Sarah Riggs, clinched the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize in 2020, affirming her enduring influence on the literary landscape. The recent exhibition “Etel Adnan: Between East and West” at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture serves as a fitting tribute to her multifaceted legacy, showcasing 41 works that span the breadth of her artistic evolution.