Google Doodle Honors Lebanese-American Artist Etel Adnan

Today, April 15, Google users in the US, UK, Egypt, and a few other countries honored the late Lebanese-American poet, journalist, and visual artist, Etel Adnan, with a vibrantly coloured “Doodle” on the search engine’s homepage. Olivia Huynh is an animator and filmmaker who created the artwork.

Adnan, who was born in Beirut in 2021 to Turkish and Greek parents, died at the age of 96. In the Google Doodle, the artist is seen working in her studio while surrounded by her characteristically abstract landscape paintings that hint at sunken valleys and mountain ridges—elements that recur frequently in Adnan’s work due to her time spent in both California and Lebanon.

The graphic representation not only acknowledges her literary accomplishments but also her strong connection to her Lebanese heritage, which is demonstrated by the inclusion of the country’s flag in the background and her leporello works, which are accordion-style printed materials with alternating folds.

Adnan always maintained close ties to her native country, even though she lived in the US and France for a significant portion of her life. After going back to Beirut to work as a journalist in 1972, she met Simone Fattal, her lifelong partner, but three years later, when the civil war broke out, she was forced to flee to Paris. The true story of Marie Rose Boulos, who was kidnapped and killed by a Christian militiaman, served as the inspiration for her best-selling book Sitt Marie Rose (1978).

Constructed using a prismatic colour scheme that epitomises her artistic style, the Doodle coincided with the 69th anniversary of her debut solo exhibition in San Rafael, California, where she served as an art instructor at Dominican University from 1958 to 1972. The artist was featured in the large-scale Guggenheim Museum survey Light’s New Measure, which ran from late 2021 to early 2022. This year’s Venice Biennale’s Central Pavillion exhibition, which opens on April 20, will feature her artwork.

Leave a Comment