'Expect to laugh, to think, to greatly admire this artist.' - ABC



Khairani Barokka (b. Jakarta, 1985) is a writer, poet and artist in London. Among her honours, she was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow for her masters, Emerging Writers Festival’s (AUS) Inaugural International Writer-In-Residence (2013), and Indonesia’s first Writer-In-Residence at Vermont Studio Center (2011). 

Okka is the writer/performer/producer of, among others, a deaf-accessible, solo poetry/art show, Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee. It premiered at Edinburgh Fringe 2014 as Indonesia’s only representative, with a grant from HIVOS. She was recognized in 2014 by UNFPA as one of Indonesia’s “Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change", for highly prolific, pioneering international work in inclusive, accessible arts.

Published internationally in anthologies and journals, Okka has presented work extensively, in ten countries, is a frequent public speaker, and has been awarded six residencies and various grants. She is author and illustrator of poetry-art book Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis Press, 2016), co-editor with Ng Yi-Sheng of HEAT: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology (Fixi, 2016), and co-editor, with Sandra Alland and Daniel Sluman, of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press, May 2017). A PhD-by-practice researcher at Goldsmiths, as an LPDP Scholar in Visual Cultures, Okka is currently working on a book and visual works. Her first full-length poetry collection, Rope, will be published by Nine Arches Press in October 2017.




Khairani Barokka (b. 1985) is a writer, poet and interdisciplinary artist. She has also been a highly prolific practitioner of think/do advocacy in the arts, particularly on the ways in which innovation in storytelling can increase inclusion and access for and by disability cultures and feminisms (both of which she is happy to be a part of). Born in Jakarta, Okka works, teaches, and is published internationally, in print and online (see WRITING for recently published and forthcoming work). Her lectures, performances, workshops, and/or projects have been presented extensively, in India, the US, Australia, Malaysia, the UK, Austria, Lithuania, Germany, Singapore, and her native Indonesia. She has a masters from ITP at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, as a Tisch Departmental Fellow, working on participatory, interactive art, literature, and social issues storytelling. Her BA (High Honors, College Scholar) was from Middlebury College in Sociology/Anthropology.


Okka is the writer, performer, and producer of a hearing-impaired accessible solo show, Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee (with a grant from HIVOS as main sponsor), which premiered at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 as Indonesia’s only representative. Previously, she pioneered the production of the first live-streamed spoken word shows in Indonesia, involving cross-national collaborations, with a focus on social justice/disability justice. As an independent scholar, she is a member of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), and has presented at international conferences, festivals, and as a two-time TEDx speaker (Jakarta and Youth@Chennai). Okka was profiled in UNFPA’s book “Investing in Young People in Indonesia: Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change” (2014) for raising awareness of disability issues and perspectives through art and writing. She has also been featured widely in national and international media, among them BBC News' live Q and A on Facebook in London, other UK media, multiple ABC Australia appearances (radio and television), RRR (Aus), The Hindu (India), The Times of India, and all major Indonesian newspapers and media including National Geographic, Esquire, and BBC Indonesia (see PRESS for complete list). Her creative pieces have been performed by herself and others (including, recently, actor Toby Jones).


Okka was most recently Artist-In-Residence at Rimbun Dahan (Malaysia, 2014-15) for six months, where she worked on writing projects as well as on using text in mixed media works. She has also held residencies at Vermont Studio Center (US, 2011; with a grant for poetry, as first Indonesian writer-in-residence), Tutti Arts (AUS, 2013), the EQUILIBRIUM Project at Sandarbh (India, 2014), Jatiwangi Art Factory’s Village Video Festival (Indonesia, 2012) and was Emerging Writers Festival’s (AUS) Inaugural International Writer-In-Residence for 2013.


Her first book as sole author, a poetry-art production entitled Indigenous Species, was published in December 2016 by Tilted Axis Press (UK), and her first full-length poetry collection, Rope, is forthcoming from Nine Arches Press (UK) in October 2017. HEAT, an anthology of Southeast Asian urban writing co-edited with Ng Yi-Sheng for Buku Fixi Publishing (Malaysia), was launched in London in April 2016. She is co-editor, with Sandra Alland and Daniel Sluman, of Nine Arches Press' UK anthology of D/deaf and disabled poets, entitled Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (forthcoming May 2017). In September 2015, Okka began a PhD by practice in Goldsmiths' Visual Cultures Department, on an LPDP Doctoral Scholarship. She continues her work in writing and art practice with a long-awaited project. As lacklustre code names are underrated as a method of approaching secret missions, its public title is Project A.


kbarokka [at] gmail [dot] com


[Picture shows Okka sitting on bookshaped-bench “Sitting On History”, British Library.]


Photograph is of Khairani Barokka, a woman in a yellow dress and blue shirt on a blue park bench. Photo credit: Wasi Daniju

Photograph is of Khairani Barokka, a woman in a yellow dress and blue shirt on a blue park bench. Photo credit: Wasi Daniju