Etel Adnan
Hommage à la Déesse de L'Olivier | 2018
Oil on canvas. 16 paintings of 29,5 cm diameter each. Donation of Marielle Saradar

'Olivéa – Hommage à la Déesse de l’Olivier' is a “poem-in-paint”, tribute to Lebanon’s olive trees in the form of an ensemble of sixteen tondos (circular paintings). The number of paintings is equivalent to the number of 6000-year-old olive trees in Bchaaleh, in North Lebanon. Adnan’s paintings are more dreamlike evocations than precise portrayals of olive trees. They are coherent with the artist’s love and fascination for nature: “I talk a lot to nature. I adore it. I talk to trees. I feel their lives. They are here as much as I (…). Trees are alive. They have atoms that move and these are the same atoms that are present within us.” Thus, Adnan acknowledges a particular affection for the olive tree: “If we want to save our planet, Earth, we should begin with this beneficial tree that has a magic beauty. This is why I chose to dedicate to it a series of round canvases named Homage to the Goddess Olivea.” 'Olivéa – Hommage à la Déesse de l’Olivier' was the core of 'A Roof for Silence', the National Pavilion of Lebanon at the 17th Biennale of Architecture in Venice curated by Hala Wardé in 2021. The tondos were accompanied by daylight photographs by Fouad Elkoury and night filming by Alain Fleischer of the same trees.

Reference EA-P-2018-A (1-16)

Biography of the artist

Born in Lebanon. 1925
Died in Paris. 2021
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.