Rania Lee Khalil makes performances and moving image for live audiences. Her artworks reflect on the beauty and disappearance of indigenous plant, animal and human (culture)s.  Her embodied and research based practice interweaves reflections on ecology, third world feminism, post coloniality and healing. In her videos she explores lo fi and analog systems of making. Originally trained in dance, somatic movement and Butoh, Khalil brings a sense of quiet and movement to her performances and moving images. 

Her original works have been seen in places including The Judson Church, La Mama Galleria, Martin Segal Theater, Utopia Station and The Ontological-Hysteric Theater in New York; Aomori Art Museum Japan, Al Ma’mal Contemporary Art Foundation Palestine, Zawya Cinema Egypt, Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art Finland and the 56th Venice Biennale. She is completing her practice based doctorate at the University of Arts Helsinki, Theatre Academy and teaches in the MFA program at Parsons, The New School.

Awards include NYFA (US), Kone Foundation (Finland), CIMO foundation (Finland), Erasmus Mundus (Europe), Fund for Women Artists (US), Zebra Poetry Film Festival (Germany)

Rania's artistic research has been made possible with the generous support of the Kone Foundation.

The daughter of Egyptian immigrants to the U.S., Khalil lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt between 2007 and 2016. She has since returned to the stolen lands of the Lenape people known as Brooklyn, NY.  She is the mother of one child.

(Education) Khalil attended Simon's Rock Early College of Bard and completed her B.A. at Hampshire College. Interested in healing in the aftermath of 9/11, she earned a Master's degree in social work and community organizing from Hunter College, New York City, and postgraduate training in the Diversity program at Ackerman Institute for the Family.  Though she did not formally continue as a social worker, her work was deeply impacted by this training in empathic and collaborative community engagement.  

She received a second Master's degree in International Performance as Research from the University of Warwick, England, followed by a practice based doctorate in performance at the University of Arts, Theatre Acaademy, Helsinki, Finland.


Reimagining a New World

Friday, 27 August 2021 12 klo (Finnish time)
CARPA Conference on Elastic Writing in Artistic Research

Theatre Academy Helsinki, Finland
in this session entitled Dis(guised) Writing
I will moderate the discussion between
Rolf Hughes / Rachel Armstrong, Annette Arlander and Harri Lasko
and their respective presentations on writing with the more than human.

August 2021
Honored to be part of the inaugural cohort of environmentally focused
artists of ViVA,  “ a new national nonprofit and curatorial platform
with a focus on connecting internationally-recognized artists
and projects emphasizing women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+,
and social justice to students, educators, and communities across all
disciplines and ages.”

My first artists talk with ViVA will take place on 21 October, 
more information, TBD.

May 2021
So pleased my video essay,
“Sinai: Tourism, Colonialism and Sea”
is now published within the Journal for Embodied Research

April 28, 2021
Please join us this Ramadan for the 4th annual,
held virtually through the People’s Forum.

“This event was born from the need to create community
spaces that challenges police-centric notions of safety.
We believe that WE keep each other safe and that the police,
ICE, military, borders, and other forms of state violence do not.”

An absoultely wonderful line up of activists and artists,
Video transitions by yours truly!

April 2021
I’ve just handed in my doctoral dissertation!  Though still more rivers to cross ...
stay tuned for notice on my defense performance at the University of Arts Helsinki 
this fall inshallah 

Feb 2021
Thank you to Gibney Dance and the Bay and Paul Foundation 
for your generous support of my work and our community in 2021

Jan 2021
A piece I wrote about The Pan African Asian Women’s Organization, Cairo to Conakry, 1960 – 1965
called “Embodiment in a Slide Projector Performance, or Hold a Photograph and Dance “
in now in Eco-Somatics issue of the
Journal of The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts
(if accessing the journal is difficult financially, write me for a copy of my article)

Dec 2020
writing and writing and writing and writing
reflections on our planet, colonialism, interspecies life,
different futures

Oct 2020
my video “Sinai, a story i tell my daughter”  is presently on view 
in the online exhibition “More Than an Immune Problem”
at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. 

Oct 2020
We are pleased to announce the fall schedule of our Interrelational Ecology Salon

Sept 2020
The Third World Ecology Trilogy

Arab American Association of New York,
Brooklyn, New York

August 2020
Please see our new site for the Interrelational Ecology Salon now live

March- December 2020
Moving Towards Justice Fellow 
Gibney Dance, New York City

Thurs. May 21 (evening TBD) cancelled
There is a Portal
CUNY Grad Center, James Gallery

Sat May 16 (afternoon TBD)  cancelled
There is a Portal

Arab American Family Support Center, Brooklyn

April 22-25, 2020
Ecosomatics Fellowship cancelled
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Sun. March 29, 6pm  cancelled
There is a Portal
Queens Writers Resist 
Terraza 77 Jackson Heights

Saturday, 3 March, 2020
Interrelational Ecology Salon with Elizabeth Yeampierre of UPROSE
Parsons, The New School  
Bark Room (M 104)
2 West 13th St. 

March- December 2020  reconfiguring
Moving Towards Justice Fellowship
Gibney Dance, New York City

Saturday, Feb 1st, 2020 4-6 pm
Intersectional Ecology Salon
Parsons, The New School 
Bark Room (M 104)
2 West 13th St.

Friday, Feb 14th, 2020 
There is a Portal

Columbia University
Kayhan participates in a closed reading for her Migrant Personhood and Right’s Group

Monday December 9th, 2019 12-2 pm
There is a Portal
Queens College, President’s Hall 

Saturday, December 7th, 2019 4-6 pm
Intersectional Ecology Salon
Parsons, The New School

Sept 22, 2019   7 pm
The Third World Ecology Trilogy at MATATU : Oakland, CA  
so honored to be part of this amazing lineup and concept-festival

7 June, 2019, 18 - 20:30 (premiere)
The Third World Ecology Trilogy at PUBLICS Helsinki, Finland.

18 May, 2019 1 pm, by invitation
preview of The Third World Ecology Trilogy at Carroll Gardens Public Library Brooklyn

20 April, 2019 3-6 pm
L Nour Editions presents
Store Front for Art and Architecture: DMZ 30 years later
book signing of Imagining Eurasia by Kyong Park.

4 February - 13 March, 2019
L Nour Editions presents
“Our Land" exhibition Amelie A. Wallace Gallery SUNY Old Westbury University, NY
curated by Anthony Hamboussi
Participating Artists: Manal Abu-Shaheen, Moath Alofi, Youssef Chahine, Fouad ElKoury, Rana ElNemr, Anthony Hamboussi, Rhea Karam, Rania Lee Khalil, Yazan Khalili, Aisha Mershani, Camille Zakharia

29 November 2018, 6:30pm There is a Portal
CUNY Graduate Center - James Gallery  Performance is Sold Out!
365 Fifth Avenue, First Floor, NYC
written and performed by Kayhan Irani, directed by Rania Lee Khalil
admission free and open to the public

9 November 2018, 7:30 PM
There is a Portal
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American StreetPhiladelphia PA
Presented by: Intercultural Journeys.

13 & 14 October 2018, 5 pm.
There is a Portal directed by Rania Lee Khali
The Culture Project 
Women Center Stage! Directors Weekend
There is a Portal (excerpt),
performance at Teatro Sea, 107 Suffolk Street in the Lower East Side

28 September, 4:30 pmArab American and Arab Artists in conversation 
Opening by Yussef El Guindi
Conversation with Sahar Assaf, Leila Buck, Rania Lee Khalil, Heather Raffo, and Betty Shamieh
September 27th & 28th, 2018
Graduate Center CUNY, New York City.Free admission.

25 July, 7 pm
Beyond Outrage
Performance is Sold Out!
There is a Portal by Kayhan Irani (excerpt)
directed by RLK
The Greene Space, New York City.  $10

25 April, 12:30 pm
screening of Palestinian Wildlife Series
Kiasma Theatre
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki, Finland
admission free and open to the public

23 April, 12 pm
reading of  There is a Portal by Kayhan Irani
directed by Rania Lee Khalil
Queens College Museum of Art
admission free and open to the public

3 March 2018, 4:30 pm
screening of Palestinian Wildlife Series with live voiceover
Film Festival on Theatre and Performance
Martin Segal Theatre, New York NY
365 5th Ave, New York, NY btwn 34th and 35th St.  Admission Free

30 October 2017
We are pleased to announce the first call for submissions at L Nour Editions, a non-profit publisher of photo books, artists books and pamphlets by artists, photographers and writers from Africa, the Middle East and their diaspora.  
Deadline 1 February, 2018.  

Rania is on maternity leave until spring  2018. Stay tuned! 

3-8 August 2016 Group Exhibition:  "Everything that Gathers Blows Away"
Camera Club of New York 126 Baxter St. (btwn Canal and Hester)
Curated by Abigail Simon
Opening Reception: August 3, 6-9 pm (live performances 7 p)

12 May 2016 new article release:  
"Palestinian Wildlife Series: embodiment in images, critical abstraction"
published in The Journal for Artistic Research

21, 22 April 2016'Decolonizing the Academy' Conference
University of Edinburgh, Scotlandperformance lecture and panel discussion
22 April, 10:30 am  Center for Carbon Innovation, Main Campus

Sat. 6 February, 2016 Cairo, Egypt
Zaywa Cinema
screening "Palestinian Wildlife Series"  6:30 pm 

26 August
Aomori Contemporary Art Museum, Aomori Japan 16.00
Palestinian Wildlife Series, video lecture performance

16 and 19 June 2015, Venice, Italy
Venice Biennale Artistic Research Pavilion 
16.6.15,  14-15.00  19.6.15,  16:30-17:30 Giorni Monestary
Palestinian Wildlife Series video lecture performance

21-22 May 2015,  Zurich, Switzerland“ PhD at Art Schools – Reality and Necessity” Conference
Artistic Research "Best Practices" invited speaker

2 April 2015, Brussels, Belgium Artist Talk(s) with Samah Hijawi
Academie Les Beux Arts
scenes from Palestinian Wildlife Series

16 January 2015, Cairo Egypt "Gold Light Across"
video screening in OverView Video Festival
location: Zawya Cinema.  3 pm

2 December 2014, Helsinki, Finland.Moderator: lecture by Rustom Bharucha, "The Aftermath: Reflections on Terror and Performance"   location:  University of Helsinki, Unioninkatu 38 F, lecture hall F 211 (wheelchair access Unioninkatu 38 E 1). 14.00h. – 16.00h.

13 November 2014, Glasgow Scotland Presentation:  <i>Palestinian Wildlife Series</i> Eila Share Biennial Conference location: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde room.  12.00h - 14.00h

11 October 2014, Beirut Lebanon
Artist's Talk and video presentation
location:  American University of Beirut
West Hall Auditorium B  17:00-18:00h

19 Sept- 6  October San Francisco, U.S. "Gold Light Across"
screening as part of OverView Video Festival
Soma Arts Cultural Centre


Trans Asia Photography Review, Review of Our Land” ed. by Anthony Hamboussi, Fall 2019

Schulenberg, Anneke.  "Lost in Translation? Video Art by Egyptian Female Artists".  Overview Film Project,  2016

Said, Maha.  “Dropping the Hyphen: Arab American Poetry from Ethnic to Diaspora”.   American Studies Conference, American University of Beirut, 2016

Basiouny, Dalia and Marvin Carlson. “Flag Piece” Arab Stages volume 2. april, 2015

Basiouny, Dalia. “Descent as Dissent” Political and Protest Theatre after 9/11  ed. Jenny Spencer. New York: Routledge Press. 2012.

Sabry, Somaya Sami. Arab American Women’s Writing and Performance: Orientalism, Race and the Idea of the Arabian Nights. London and New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd. 2011

Carlson, Marvin and Dalia Basiouny. “Current Trends in Arab American Theater” Performance, Exile and America ed. by Sylvia Jestrovic and Yana Meerzon. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2009.

artist writing

Khalil, Rania Lee. Artist Pages: The Pan African Asian Women’s Organization, Cairo to Conakry.  Ecosomatics Journal vol 2  Spring 2020

Khalil, Rania Lee. “Family Photographs as Political Performance: The Pan-African Asian Women’s Organization, Cairo to Conakry 1960-1965” Performance and Otherness (vol 1), Theatre Academy Helsinki Press,  2018

Khalil, Rania Lee. “Palestinian Wildlife Series: Embodiment in Images and Critical Abstraction” Journal for Artistic Research vol. 10, 2016

Khalil, Rania Lee. “Things You Didn’t Decide: On Making a Site Specific Performance in Palestine.”  Essays on Live Art and Performance Studies. Episodi 4. ed. Annette Arlander. Theatre Academy Press, Helsinki. 2014.


ranialeekhalil [at] gmail [dot] com
gil scott heron, winter in america

“just like the forests,
buried beneath the highways,
they never had a chance to grow....”