The Story Of Moja SOba
The story behind my art gallery is not your typical business chronicle because it’s also my life story. My name is Hana Juric, and I am a Croatian visual artist. I grew up in Belisce, a small town in the region of Slavonija, where there’s not much happening culturally.
Still, the beautiful nature, many rivers, and forests make up for it. I started creating art in high school, where I studied to become a sculpture designer. I continued my art education in Osijek, and in 2014 I completed my Master’s degree in Education in Fine Arts.
The education part of my degree title was of no interest to me, so instead of teaching, I moved across the world to Canada and started working night shifts at a bakery. It’s a funny story that didn’t last for too long, but I continued to find different day jobs over the years and travel the world in search of inspiration. Doing so, I never quit creating art. It was not an easy existence but crucial in following my path as an artist.
I have seen so many independent art galleries and artists’ run centers, which I couldn’t find back home in Croatia. It was a bittersweet experience, inspiring but at the same time frustrating. It made me painfully aware of the shortcomings of the Croatian cultural landscape.
I lived in Lisbon, Portugal, with my long-term partner when she got a great job opportunity that involved moving back to Croatia. We moved to Zadar, on the Adriatic Sea, and I won’t lie – it was a struggle for me. Again, beautiful nature, but not much happening culturally. It wasn’t easy, but I continued to create art. Time passed by, and I quit looking outside for inspiration.
In 2019, we moved to Austria for a while. We were living in Graz, and there was a beautiful gallery walk right under our apartment. Small spaces, designer shops, and completely different, exciting art styles. It was a wake-up call for me, and I realized I needed to become much more proactive in my environment.
The summer of 2019 was a time for action. I made a decision – instead of waiting for somebody else to do it, I was going to start my own art gallery! It was not just an art gallery in my mind – it was everything I was not getting from the city I was living in.
I managed to write a business plan that got me a nice grant for small businesses. The funding was sufficient to get me through the whole year. While the amount of Croatian paperwork was unbelievable, I was happy to find a tiny gallery space in the center of Zadar. With a little help from my friends, we made it work.
Moja Soba is a commercial art gallery and a concept store. The focus is on developing artist products and creating artists-designer collaborations. I’m representing my own work but also featuring some amazing local artists as well. I would also like to inspire and educate other local artists to start their businesses.
Zadar is perfect for this type of venue – it’s a tourist city, and it’s hungry for some contemporary art! I am producing everything locally, and that is one of the backbone ideas of my business. It is a slow-paced production – and quality is always above quantity.