Elina Ruka lives and works in Latvia. Her artistic interest centres upon examining the human relationship with water and photographic medium, questioning the knowledge on both subjects and juggling between reality and illusion. Ruka is also interested in culture, especially linguistic and symbolic aspects, looking at details that bring us together or make it difficult to communicate.

She has received her MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (2016) and is recipient of Fulbright Fellowship, Follett Merit Award and Albert P. Weisman Award at Columbia College Chicago, Jānis Grundmanis Postgraduate Fellowship for Study in the U. S., Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation artist award and has been funded by State Cultural Capital Foundation of Latvia numerous times.

Ruka's work has been published in Aint-Bad magazine (2017), Latvian Photography Yearbook (2013) and Generation of Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics (2011). Her work is part of Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, and the Zuzāns collections. She has exhibited in Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Denmark, France and the United States and numerous online exhibitions. 


2016 MFA in Photography, Columbia College Chicago

2009 BA in Photography, Ecoles de Condé, France

2005 Second-level professional diploma in English-Latvian-French Translation, University of Latvia

2004 BA in Arts, French language and culture, Latvian Academy of Culture


Solo Exhibitions

2018 Gravy Studio, Philadelphia

2018 Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga, Latvia

2017 Framing Effect: Elevation, permanent installation, Glendale, WI

2017 River, Vedder Price, Chicago, IL

2017 Aqueous, Waubansee Community College, IL

2009 Could this become my home?, Creative Space Tasty, Riga, Latvia


Group Exhibitions

2018 Art unites, Global Center for Latvian Art, Cesis, Latvia

2018 Pushed Processes, Hokin Gallery, Chicago

2018 Shadow Fixation, Perspective Gallery, Evanston, IL

2017 Top 16, Kaunas Photo Festival, Kaunas, Lithuania

2017 Water, Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, KS

2016 Albert P. Weisman Exhibition, Arcade Gallery, Chicago, IL

2016 Photography MFA Thesis Exhibition, Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago, IL

2015 Inspired at Blu, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, IL

2015 Fluid Method, The Observatory Gallery, Chicago, IL

2012 Rādītprieks, Kalnciema kvartals, Riga, Latvia

2012 Contemporary Photographers from Latvia, Cultural center, Liège, Belgium

2012 Copenhagen Photo Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark

2011 20 Years of Relations, organized by the US Embassy in Latvia, Riga, Latvia

2009 ISSP 2009, Goethe Institut, Riga, Latvia

2009 ISSP 2009, Cinema “Latgale”, Ludza, Latvia

2009 Tresors of the Peninsula, City Hall, Lyon, France

2008 ISSP 2008, “Latgale”, Ludza, Latvia

2008 ISSP 2008, Goethe Institut, Riga, Latvia

2008 Corps Attitude, Bully, France



2018 ESTILA “Creativity Beyond Limits”, feature

2018 Broad Street Review, “Water, water everywhere”, exhibition review

2018 Humble Arts Foundation, “Elina Ruka Photographs the Mystery and Mutability of Water”,interview

2018 TVNET, interview on internet portal

2018 Baltic Outlook, August issue

2018 All the Waves Belong to the Sea, Diena, article, newspaper, July 25

2018 Art unites, catalog

2018 Pushed Processes: Reworking the Photographic Medium, catalog

2017 Aint-Bad Magazine, Curator's Choice

2016 Altered Landscape, Landscape Stories, digital exhibition

2016 MFA Photography 2016, catalog

2016 Aqueous, A-B Magazine, online feature

2016 Der Greif, guest curated by Lesley A. Martin and Ann-Christin Bertrand, digital exhibition

2015 Weekender, June 5, Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, online feature

2014 New Directions, Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, digital exhibition

2014 In Review: Filter Photo Festival 2014, Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, online feature

2013 Latvian Photography Yearbook, essay by Ieva Lejasmeijere, published by KultKom

2011 Generation of Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics, published by Mene.CC

2010 Group Show 36, Humble Arts Foundation, New York, digital exhibition

2010 NRA, newspaper, November 27

2010 Laiks, newspaper, November 15

2009 Kulturas Forums, newspaper, October 9

2009 Easyget.lv, cultural portal, September 22

2009 Diena, newspaper, September 21

2009 Telegraf, newspaper, August 13

2009 ISSP 2009, catalogue

2008 ISSP 2008, catalogue



2017 Photo Lucida Critical Mass finalist

2016 Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation artist award

2016 Resident Artist, Library at Columbia College Chicago

2016 Albert P. Weisman Award, Columbia College Chicago

2016 John Mulvany Scholarship, Columbia College Chicago

2015 Lya Dym Rosenblum Award, Columbia College Chicago

2015 Jānis Grundmanis Graduate Fellowship, AABS

2015 Photography Workshop, Anderson Ranch Arts Center

2013 Follett Graduate Merit Award, Columbia College Chicago

2013 Fulbright Graduate Fellowship, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

2012 - 2016 Fellowship for Creation and Travel, The State Cultural Capital Foundation of Latvia

2003 ERASMUS Student Scholarship from Latvian Academy of Culture in cooperation with University de Picardie Jules Vern