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Pop up gallery to showcase work of Elena Gallina, alum and first Rhodes House artist-in-residence

This is a photo of Elena Gallina
Elena Gallina, Allison Corona photo

Elena Gallina (BA, multidisciplinary studies, 2018) became Boise State’s third Rhodes Scholar in 2019. After graduation, she earned two master’s degrees at Oxford University, one in economics and philosophy and one in business administration with an emphasis in social impact funding.

She has excelled as a documentary photographer. She recently became the first artist-in-residence at the Rhodes House at Oxford, a meeting place for Rhodes Scholars, fellows and friends of the Rhodes community.

Boise State will host Gallina and an exhibition of her work in April.

For her residency, Gallina focused on the Kosovar pastime of collecting and trading paper napkins. Gallina wrote, “As young girls we saved paper napkins with different designs on them in shoeboxes and traveled around to trade amongst ourselves. Women all the way back to the 1960s engaged in the practice and often collections were passed down from mother to daughter, aunt to niece, grand-daughter, etc. Though the practice is dying, many women have retained their shoeboxes (myself included!).”

She has photographed and interviewed women from age 17 to 89 about this tradition, how it links to feminism and what it means to be a woman in Kosovo. The artist describes her work as “artivism.” She is passionate about anti-classist art and the power of storytelling to shift moral consciousness.

This is a photo from Gallina's exhibition that features a collection of napkins.
Work from Gallina’s exhibition. Photo provided by Elena Gallina.

“Çiknia jonë: Our Girlhood,” an exhibition of Gallina’s work will be on display in the Trueblood Pop Up Gallery in the Boise State Student Union Building from April 4-8. An opening reception is scheduled from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, with an artist talk at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Read more about Gallina’s work on Ox in a Box, an Oxford culture website.

Gallina’s website includes photos and more about her artistic philosophy.