Etel Adnan
Key Signs | 2017
Ink and Watercolor on Japanese Carnet. 18,2 x 12,2 x 4 cm (Open 18.2 x 293 cm).

Since the late 1960s, Etel Adnan has been working with makimono, a type of Japanese horizontal unfolding scroll-like form. They were often filled with texts by Adnan herself or others, and landscapes. In her recent work, including this piece, Adnan has evolved towards a more abstract construction, texts and views becoming an alphabet of signs and glyphs.

Reference EA-WP-2017-A

Biography of the artist

Born in Lebanon. 1925
Works and Lives in Paris, France


Etel Adnan is a Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and visual artist. In 2003, Adnan was named "arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today" by the academic journal MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. She studied literature at the Sorbonne, Paris, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., and Berkeley University and went on to teach philosophy of art at the Dominican University of California. Adnan has held solo and group exhibitions in the USA, Jordan, Morocco, France, Belgium, Italy, UK, Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Etel Adnan‘s work has been acquired by private collections as well as by the Royal Jordanian Museum, the Modern Art Museum in Tunisia, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the British Museum, The World Bank in Washington D.C., and the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.