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The Kid Should See This

How did Etel Adnan decide to become an artist?

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How did poet and artist Etel Adnan decide to become an artist? She finally did what her inner soul told her to do. This Tate Kids video tells her story, from Lebanon to Paris to Berkeley where she taught classes, and where her friend Anne asked her why she wasn’t an artist.

“Etel’s first thought was ‘But my mother said that I was too clumsy’ Her friend Anne replied: ‘And you believed her?'”

friends talking about art

“After this, Etel began painting every spare moment she could find… She also created work with tapestry, ceramics, and paper and she eventually started combining her love of words with her love of images. Etel started making folding paper books which she covered in watercolor paint and the calligraphy of her homeland.”

Etel Adnan

“Etel has now been painting for over 50 years and writing for over 70. She once said “Do what your inner soul tells you to do regardless of any money or success it will bring” Imagine how different her life would have been if Etel was afraid to listen to the call of her inner soul.”

Can you think of an art form you’ve always wanted to try but were nervous you might be no good at?

Etel with her parents
Find more about Etel Adnan at Artsy, the Poetry Foundation, and at

Then watch these related women in art videos on TKSST:
Sonia Boyce, Barbara Hepworth, Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O’Keefe, and Dayanita Singh: 5 Women Artists’ Stories
Artist Shantell Martin: Follow the Pen
Georgia O’Keeffe doesn’t care what you think
Frida Kahlo: The woman behind the legend

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