Elia Gurna is an artist, an activist, a youth worker and a mother. She was born in Queens, NY and is of mixed heritage – her mother immigrated from Austria and her father from Pakistan. Elia grew up in Queens, Vienna, and Karachi.
Elia’s work has been included in exhibitions annually since 2001, including galleries and other spaces in New York City, Beacon, NY and Philadelphia, as well as the Queens Museum of Art. She is part of the music and poetry performance collaboration einLab, which was featured on Columbia University’s WKCR’s Live Constructions radio program and has performed live in various gallery and museum settings.
As part of her mission to create youth led social change art projects, Elia participated in Theater of the Oppressed trainings and became a Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory facilitator in 2011. She has since facilitated this work for Occupy activists and others.
Elia has worked in youth programs for over 15 years in both the United States and Europe. In New York, she founded and directed Art Without Limits, a program of Development Without Limits (DWL), which provided out of school time art experiences for young people. As part of her work with DWL, Elia also facilitated dozens of professional development workshops on onsite coaching for youth workers and educators on a range of topics including positive discipline and child and youth development.
In addition to her work in art, activism, and youth work Elia has taught German language courses at the university level. Her favorite job yet was being a bike messenger in Vienna, Austria.
Elia holds a B.A. in German and Visual Arts from Columbia University and an MFA in Painting and Sculpture from Queens College, CUNY. She lives in the Elmwood neighborhood of Providence with her husband Eric, their children Rosalie and Rafael, and two cats.