Maison Louis Carré (Paris) & Kunsthalle (Helsinki)
b. 1925 in Lebanon,
based in Paris, France
Adnan moves between different mediums; she is a poet, essayist, and visual artist, who was born and raised in Beirut. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, U.C. Berkeley, and at Harvard, and taught at Dominican College in San Rafael, California, from 1958–1972. In solidarity with the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), Adnan began to resist the political implications of writing in French and became a painter. Then, through her participation in the movement against the Vietnam War (1959–1975), she began to write poetry and became, in her words, an American poet. In 1972, she returned to Beirut and worked as cultural editor for two daily newspapers. Her novel Sitt Marie-Rose, published in Paris in 1977, won the France-Pays Arabes award and has been translated into more than ten languages. In 1980, Adnan re-established herself in California, making Sausalito her home. Since 2012 she has been based in Paris, France. Adnan is the author of more than a dozen books in English. In 2014, she was awarded one of France’s highest cultural honors: l’Ordre de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres.
Her paintings have been widely exhibited, including Documenta 13, the 2014 Whitney Biennial, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, The New Museum, and Museum der Moderne Salzburg. In 2014, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art mounted a retrospective of her work.