“Beauty was not simply something to behold it was something one could do.”- Toni Morrison
Photo of Elena Gallina against a golden-yellow wall

Elena is a documentary photographer and economic researcher focused on feminist development. Having grown up in Kosovo in the aftermath of the ‘99 war and worked in refugee camps in Jordan and Palestine for several years, her photography is inspired by the often misunderstood quiet moments experienced by those in over-sensationalized environments. She seeks out the stillnesses, believing colour and beauty inform our truth. Having studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, earning an MSc in Economic and Social History and an MBA, she is now piloting the Artist-in-Residence for the Rhodes Trust. Gallina is also an Economic Theorist to Cultural Heritage Without Borders-Kosovo, where she is advising on the creation of a cultural districts database. The tenure of this residency has been spent across Kosovo, documenting girlhood from the 60’s to the early 2000’s.

Gallina’s methodology as a photographer is co-creative in nature. To offset historic power imbalances between photographer and “subject” Gallina treats the creation of portraits as a shared process, wherein subjects arrange themselves, have control of image selection, and images are taken in their natural space. Gallina is passionate about anti-classist art and strongly believes in the use of storytelling to shift moral consciousness.

Education: 

Rhodes Scholar, 2019

Truman Scholar, 2017

Truman Scholar, 2016

MSc Economic and Social History, University of Oxford, 2020

MBA, Social Impact Fellow, University of Oxford, 2021

Commissions:

Agrotourism development, CEED Albania, Shokdra & Puka, 2018

Atelier collection shoot, Zarif Design, Kabul, August 2019

Portfolio Shoot, Annan Affotey Art, Oxford, Nov 2021

Band Cover Shoot, Clothesline, Minneapolis Feb, 2022

Event shoot Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, Red Cross, and cabinet, Prishtina, Sept & Oct, 2023

Exhibitions:

Untitled, The District, Boise, ID, USA, 2016

The New Woman: Jam Factory, Oxford, UK–as part of Photo Oxford festival, Oct 2020

The New Woman: MING Studios, Boise, ID, July 2021

Of Home and Hope (group): Southbank Centre London, Sept, 2021 into Spring 2022

Çiknia jonë. (Oxford, UK: Rhodes House, February 29 – July 1, 2024. Artist Talk March 1. Community workshop artist collaboration day, March 2).

Çiknia jonë. (Boise, ID, USA: Boise State University, Opening reception April 5, 2024. Private cocktail artist talk reception: April 6. Student artist talk: April 8).

Çiknia jonë. (Washington, DC, USA: Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo, Private wine reception: April 12. Community open day/artist talk: April 14).

Çiknia jonë. (Mitrovica, Kosovo: June 8 – June 22, 2024. Community/school children activity days, June 10-14, 2024).

 

Magazine Features:

Boise Weekly Cover from Afghanistan street series (2020)

Oct 2020 Byline Times, Newborn Kosovo image (Oct 2020)

Gallina, Elena. “In Defense of the Necessity of Beauty: Resistance, Reclamation, and Faith.” Clerestory Magazine, Issue No. 1, Faith. https://clerestorymag.com/photo-stories/in-defense-of-the-necessity-of-beauty. Link

Gallina, Elena. “Leaves.” Clerestory Magazine, Issue No. 8, Ecology. https://clerestorymag.com/photo-stories/leaves Link

Press:

Wohlers, Julia. 2020. “Finding feminism & beauty in a war zone: Elena Gallina’s portraiture.” Brand of People, May 15, 2020. Link

Ox in a Box. Photo Oxford brings Elena Gallina’s images of women in war torn Afghanistan to The Jam Factory. October 15, 2020. Link

2023. “Elena Gallina: Boise State’s third Rhodes Scholar continues to empower and inspire.” Boise State News. Boise State University. June 7. https://www.boisestate.edu/news/2023/06/07/elena-gallina-boise-states-third-rhodes-scholar-continues-to-empower-and-inspire/. Link

Google Arts & Culture. 2021-2022. “Art by Post: Of Home and Hope.” Elena Gallina: Portrait Commission Photographer. Southbank Centre. London. Link and Link

Jack Arts. “Southbank Centre: Art by Post: Of Home and Hope.” BuildHollywood. https://www.buildhollywood.co.uk/work/southbank-centre-art-by-post-of-home-and-hope/ Link

“Launch Event | Elena Gallina, Çiknia jonë: Our Girlhood.” Rhodes Trust. https://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/programmes-events/calendar-of-events/events/2024/february/launch-event-elena-gallina-%C3%A7iknia-jon%C3%AB-our-girlhood/ Link

 

Mixed Media:

“Elena Gallina: My Healing.” MING Studios. May 23, 2022. Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoX7V2AXdaU. Link