Member Spotlight - January 2021

Gabriela Guganovic

Gabriela comes from a family of hard-working and supportive people.  She and her only brother finished their early schooling in Yugoslavia.  Gabriela applied to art school, but a very small percentage of people were accepted, and she was not. Instead she applied and was accepted into study for early childhood education, as she was also interested in teaching.  The political upheaval in Yugoslavia began when she graduated.  With her parents’ support, she moved to Budapest, Hungary.  She became a teacher in a private international school and taught children from all over the world.  Gabriela knew English, as she had been exposed to it all of her life.  During the three years she spent teaching there, she began to be interested in photography as a way to express herself as well as a way to communicate.  

After Budapest, Gabriela moved to Warsaw, Poland, to be with Jim, the American whom she had met in Budapest.  While in Warsaw, she continued teaching and doing her photography.  She won several awards in an art show (organized by a magazine) as an amateur photographer.  With Jim, she traveled all over the world.  She soaked up the different cultures and was especially drawn to the disruptions in other countries with a sensitivity towards what the country was going through because of her own experiences.

On January 1, 2000, Gabriela and Jim got married in Las Vegas.  They moved to New York for job opportunities.  When a job offer came from Chicago, they settled in St. Charles while Gabriela pursued photography. 16 years ago, she gave birth to her daughter and has been very devoted to her upbringing.

When her daughter went to school, Gabriela studied at COD in photography and received a certificate in Photography Technology. She received a lot of support from her professors and was successful.  When she finished school, she participated in art shows in the USA and Europe, but then felt she should concentrate on her own community.  She did volunteer work with the St. Charles Arts Council and exhibited in local galleries.


Right now she is concentrating on her teaching as well as doing her own art work. Her recent work is a form of still life often centered around a table, the table being symbolic of where people gather and meet.  The purpose of her work is to start a conversation—to get people to think.  Her images reflect everyday stillness and solitude as well as discomfort and familiarity.  She focuses on finding herself and getting others to seek themselves through art as well.


Gabriela enjoys teaching at Fine Line.  Her classes are well attended. 

Please visit Gabriela’s website at