65 Etel Adnan Quotes on Art, Time & Writing

Etel Adnan Quote

In this post, we’ll read Etel Adnan quotes, who was a Lebanese-American poet, essayist, and visual artist.

Etel Adnan (1925–2021) was born into a Greek Orthodox Christian family in Beirut, Lebanon. She studied philosophy and pursued graduate studies in literature at the University of California.

She produced poetry, essays, novels, and plays in both English and French which often explored themes of identity, memory, war, exile, and the natural world. She was also active in political and social causes including speaking up for Palestinian rights and her writing often reflected her passion for social justice.

Other than her writing career, Adnan was also a visual artist and used to create colorful and abstract paintings which have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.

Let’s read some of the best Etel Adnan quotes on love, art, writing, and more.

Best Etel Adnan Quotes

Best Etel Adnan Quote

1. “Do what your inner soul tells you to do, regardless of any money or success it will bring you.”

2. “Dear soul, am I only because I have been?”

3. “Philosophy is a non-knowledge: thought takes pleasure in measuring its borders.” – Time

4. “Beauty, it’s an inner sense, and it makes us happy. It’s not complicated, we need it.”

5. “What I am really longing for is something beyond freedom, beyond disbelief.”

6. “There is no such thing as a fixed identity, we are constantly evolving, always becoming.”

7. “Why is the horizon of my consciousness so limited? Who set its boundaries and why?”

8. “Laziness-with it’s inebriating effects- is the wine of the poor, and of those who wander among them.” – Time

9. “I always had a few people who liked what I did, and that was enough.”

Etel Adnan Quotes on Time

Etel Adnan Quote on Time

1. “They tell me there are four seasons but I live in a fifth one, which is your space and your time.”

2. “Everyone lives Time. If then one added every second lived by each of these people, lived by each of us, by all the people of the world, at this precise moment, it would make all the eternity of Time.” – Sitt Marie Rose

3. “The day is not made of light, but of will.” — Time

4. “Memory and time, both immaterial, are rivers with no banks and constantly merging. Both escape our will, though we depend on them. Measured but measured by whom or by what? The one is inside, the other, outside or so it seems, but is that true? Time seems also buried deep in us but where? Memory is right here, in the head, but it can exit, abandon that head, leave it behind, disappear. Memory, a sanctuary of infinite patience.” – Night

5. “There are moments when the past ceases to be a form of the present. Rain and tears look alike.”

Etel Adnan Quotes on Art

Etel Adnan Quote on Art

1. “Art is a mirror that reflects the depths of the human condition.”

2. “Art is the sacred language of the soul, a prayer for the ephemeral beauty of existence.”

3. “Art is a language without borders, it connects souls across time and space.”

4. “Art is a breaking out of imprisonment. It’s self-expansion.”

5. “In art, there is no right or wrong, only the expression of one’s inner truth.”

6. “Art is the bridge between the tangible and the intangible, the known and the unknown.

7. “Art is a rebellion against meaninglessness, a celebration of the infinite possibilities of being.”

8. “Abstract art was the quivalent of poetic expression; I didn’t need to use words,but colors and lines. I didn’t need to belong to a language-oriented culture but to an open form of expression.”

Etel Adnan Quotes on Painting

Etel Adnan Quote on Painting

1. “I write what I see; I paint what I am.”

2. “Once I put down a color, I never cover it up. If you are born a musician, why become a banker?”

3. “Colours exist for me as entities in themselves, as metaphysical beings.”

4. “Mount Tamalpais became my house. For Cezanne, Sainte-Victoire was no longer a mountain. It was an absolute. It was painting.”

5. “My writing and my paintings do not have a direct connection in my mind. But I am sure they influence each other in the measure that everything we do is linked to whatever we are, which includes whatever we have done or are doing.”

6. “Usually, I am a compulsive person, and I need – sometimes urgently – to paint… Painting is close to poetry, is a kind of poetry expressed visually. It has to be spontaneous, rapid – at least in my case.”

7. “I love Nicolas de Stael particularly, and my work can remind people of him. But looked at attentively, our works are not similar at all.”

Etel Adnan Quotes on Writing

Etel Adnan Quote on Writing

1. “The books I’m writing are houses that I build for myself.”

2. “Writing is like a dance, a delicate balance between control and surrender.”

3. “Writing is a way of avoiding death and sickness; it doesn’t solve anything, but it forges a feeling of companionship.”

4. “I write with a passion, with a longing for something more, something beyond, something infinite.”

5. “Writing is drawing, drawing is writing. Because it’s the same gesture. They’re close already.”

6. “I didn’t want to read French or write it; it was like a boycott, a rejection.”

7. “Writing is an act of faith, a belief in the power of words to change the world.”

8. “Words are my tools, my weapons, my refuge.”

9. “Writing is a form of prayer, a communion with something larger than ourselves.”

10. “To write is to listen, to open oneself to the whispers of the universe.”

11. “There is no greater satisfaction than to see one’s thoughts take form on the page.”

Etel Adnan Quotes on Being an Artist

Etel Adnan Quote on Being an Artist

1. “The artist’s role is to challenge perceptions, to question the unquestioned.”

2. “Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, it’s in the heart of the artist.”

3. “Every stroke of the brush, every word on the page, is an act of creation, a defiance against destruction.”

4. “To be able to love is an art, it requires training in the complexities of the heart.”

5. “To create is to resist, it’s an act of rebellion against the status quo.”

Etel Adnan Quotes on Love

Etel Adnan Quote on Love

1. “Love in all its forms is the most important matter that we will ever face, but also the most dangerous, the most unpredictable, the most maddening. But it is also the only salvation I know of.” – The Cost for Love We are Not Willing to Pay

2. “Spring is dangerous, like love. And love survives the lovers.” – Seasons

3. “If you aren’t here your heart won’t break in the same way.”

4. “I love rains which carry desires to oceans.”

5. “Night is an element of love; like fog. It liberates space, lets freshness cross it. Its magic elevates the body, brings to the surface the mystery of just being alive, being. With or without stars and galaxies, the sky becomes a private territory—the imagination’s own scope. These are moments when one reaches all there is between the moon and oneself.” — The Cost for Love We are Not Willing to Pay

Etel Adnan Quotes on Life & Death

Etel Adnan Quote on Life

1. “The fact that philosophy is not a break with daily life, and that daily life is poetry.”

2. “Not seeing rivers is also another way of dying.”

3. “Places are part of nature, of the bigger picture. We are interrelated. When we contemplate them in their own right, they can sometimes change our lives; they can become spiritual experiences.”

4. “Eternity is non evident. There’s this endless rotation of the sun in the skull, the stillness outside, and a storm within. At least a river is always flowing in some part of the country.”

5. “Winds, always gathering speed, shatter the order of things. We return home, in tears.” – Night

6. “There are not millions of deaths. It happens millions of times that someone dies.”

7. “Morning. Vast. Imprecision. Fog has covered everything in gray absolute. This has lasted. Doubt looms over the mind. Absence is harder to accept than death. – Sea & Fog

8. “Terror is our collective failure. Life is nature’s triumph.”

Etel Adnan Quotes on Silence

Etel Adnan Quote on Silence

1. “Silence is both a source of mystery and a means of liberation.”

2. “Silence is the creation of space, a space that memory needs to use . . . an incubator. We’re dealing here with dimensions, stretching our inner muscles, pushing aside any interference. We’re dealing with numbers, but not counting. Silence demands the nature of night, even in full day, it demands shadows.” – Shifting the Silence

3. “Words melt in reflections; that’s why there’s a uselessness to this night, to my missing the river, to the delaying of love…light is picking up momentum in the vicinity of the oaks that cover this property, this silence.” – Night

Etel Adnan Quotes on Man & Women

Etel Adnan Quote on Man & Women

1. “Their women only exert indirect powers over them, powers that seem ineffective, or else are so strong that they, the men, can’t recognize them as such. But a woman who stands up to them and looks them in the eye is a tree to be cut down, and they cut it down. She falls with the sound of dead wood which disappears among the perfidious murmurings of the city, and to the smirking of other women who are satisfied with the male victories.”

2. “Morality is violence. An invisible violence at first. Love is a supreme violence, hidden deep in the darkness of our atoms. When a stream flows into a river, it’s love and it’s violence. When a cloud loses itself in the sky, it’s a marriage. When the roots of a tree split open a rock it’s the movement of life. When the sea rises and falls back only to rise again it’s the process of History. When a man and a woman find each other in the silence of the night, it’s the beginning of the end of the tribe’s power, and death itself becomes a challenge to the ascendancy of the group.” – Sitt Marie Rose

Etel Adnan Quotes on Universe

Etel Adnan Quote on Universe

1. “The universe is an immense meadow in which our symbolic gestures of love get swallowed up.”

2. “We were taught to think that Paris was the center of the universe.”

3. “It is a sentiment of tremendous truth and simplicity, yet tremendously difficult for the mind to metabolize — we remain material creatures, spiritually sundered by the fact of our borrowed atoms, which we will each return to the universe, to the stardust that made us, despite our best earthly efforts.”

These Etel Adnan quotes reflect her passion and love for writing and painting and living the life of an artist. She is very popular in France and the Arab world as is considered one of the best Arab authors of modern time.

In 2014, she was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her contributions to literature and art.

Which of these Etel Adnan quotes is your most favorite?

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