Zena

About

Community

About

Zena

Community

About Zena

Zena el Khalil believes in the positive impact that art can have on the world. Born year of the Dragon, she is a visual artist, writer and Nāda yoga instructor based in Beirut. Her work includes mixed media paintings, installations and performance that focus on creating a culture of peace through love, compassion, forgiveness and empathy. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, a Bachelor of Graphic Design from the American University of Beirut and a 200 RYT teaching certificate from the Yoga Alliance. El Khalil exhibits internationally, including New York, San Francisco, Miami, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Dubai. She has also held solo exhibitions in Lagos, London, Munich, Turin and Beirut.

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In May 2008, el Khalil was invited by the Nobel Peace Center to speak at a conference on freedom of expression over the internet. In 2012, Zena was selected to become a TED Fellow, and has since given a few TED and TEDx talks. In 2016, Zena graduated from the first program in the world, certified by the Yoga Alliance, devoted entirely to the practice of sacred sound and subtle vibrations. She is from the first class of graduates. She then went on to establish the Ātman Institute, a collective which aims to use the healing art of sound to create a culture of peace through workshops, lectures, concerts and exhibitions. In 2017, Zena launched a national scale 40 day exhibition and multi disciplinary project of her work entitled Sacred Catastrophe : Healing Lebanon at Beit Beirut. She was the first artist to ever exhibit in this historic war relic.

Zena el Khalil is represented by Giorgio Persano Gallery in Turin, Italy.

Beirut Update

Zena is also the founder of xanadu*, a non-profit art collective, began in New York City as a direct response to the 9-11 attacks; el Khalil set up this platform as a gallery space, to help Arab artists during a time of extreme xenophobia in NYC. Through xanadu*, she also publishes young poets and comic book artists in Lebanon, also publishing the first four editions of Samandal Comics Magazine. Though her new project, the Ātman Institute, Zena is curating cultural workshops and concerts pertaining to Nāda Yoga, the yoga of sacred sound.

During the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, Zena was one of the first largely followed Middle Eastern bloggers; her writings published in the international press, including the BBC, CNN, and Der Spiegel. The entire Guardian G2 supplement in July was dedicated to her blog, Beirut Update. Her novel, Beirut, I Love You, published in 2008 is translated in several languages. She has also been included in several anthologies including Lebanon, Lebanon, published by Saqi Books and Beirut Noir, published by Akashic Books.

“From fire, we create life. From destruction, we find the strength to construct meaning in our lives.

If stars destroy themselves, then maybe it’s only natural for us to do the same. We are obeying the fundamental laws of our universe. Churning each other up, and spitting out star stuff. Constantly. Effortlessly.”

TED Blog /
Interview with Zena