Frankétienne was born Franck Étienne on April 12, 1936, in Ravine-Sèche, Haiti. He is a Haitian writer, poet, playwright, painter, musician, activist, and intellectual. He was abandoned by his father, a wealthy American industrialist, at a young age and was raised by his mother in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, where she worked as a street merchant to support her eight children, managing to send him, who was the eldest, to school.

Franketienne is recognized as one of Haiti's leading writers and playwrights of both French and Haitian Creole, and is "known as the father of Haitian letters." As a painter, he is known for his colorful abstract works, often emphasizing the colors blue and red. He was a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009, made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Order of the Arts and Letters), and was named UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2010. "Etienne's gestural style is apparent in his energetic and forced representations," says Gerald Alexis in his book Peintres Haitiens. Get the Peintres Haitiens book here!

Franketienne thus contributes to offering a positive image of Haiti, at a time when the credit of this painful island is totally in deficit due to the irresponsibility and obscurantism of recent governments. Frankétienne received numerous tributes in multiple foreign university centers.