Poet and artist who maintained her links to the Middle East throughout her life

If Etel Adnan’s poetry and prose was characterised by its mournful evocation of her native Lebanon’s turbulent history, often seen through the eyes of an émigré, then her painting, for which she found further fame later in life, was infused with a joyous sense of colour. For Adnan, who has died aged 96, the two disciplines were complementary.

“My writing is rather pessimistic, because of the angle of history I got involved with,” she said. “Words are social. I think it’s more natural if an event bothers you to express it in words. Art also is a kind of language – but it’s a language of feeling. When I paint, I am happy.”

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