During her studies, numerous group exhibitions in the former Yugoslavia
1988 Graduated from High Art School in Skopje, Macedonia
1995 Master’s degree in Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts of St. Kyril Methodiy University in Skopje, with a thesis on symbolism in art. During her studies, she was a graphic designer for the newspaper “Elena” and for the magazine “Nova Makedonija”, receiving a national award for the best artistic illustration.
1997 Scholarship to study in Auckland, New Zealand.
1998 Founded NGO Art Studio, a non-governmental (non-profit) open art studio in Macedonia.
2001-2003 Specialization in traditional Byzantine techniques of frescoes and icon painting, at the Monastery of Veljusa, Macedonia.
Exhibitions and publications:
1998-1999 Exhibitions at KIC-QIK Cultural Information Center, and MKC Youth Cultural Center, Skopje
2001-2004-2005-2006 Exhibitions at Holl Army Center and Univerzitetska Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Skopje
2004 Exhibition in Eindhoven, Netherlands
2006 Exhibitions at Reusel and Jan de Bouvries Tiburlg, The Netherlands, and at the “Peace One Day” exhibition at the Univerzitetska Biblioteka Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Skopje.
2007 Organization and participation in “Ars Vivendi” at the Macedonian National Gallery “Mala Stanica”. Coordinator of visual arts and theater projects for the Macedonian Ministry of Culture, including the European premiere of the American opera “The Captivation of Eunice Williams” .
2008 Exhibition at Shangri-La Art Gallery in Houston, Texas, USA
2009 Moved to Miami Beach, Florida, USA, establishing a Studio at Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, while continuing to mentor at NGO Art Studio in Skopje, Macedonia.
2010 Organization of the exhibition: “Ars vs. Argumentum” at the KIC-QIK Cultural Information Center in Skopje, bringing together the NGO Art Studio and the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, Florida. Numerous collective exhibitions at the Bakehouse Art Complex and elsewhere; “Love thy Liberty” at the Sailboat Loft in Ft. Lauderdale, “My Art Art Show” and auction for UTV Television in North Miami, and “Project New Born” at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
2011 Solo exhibition in Florida and Washington DC. Interviews on Voice of America. Commissioned an icon of the Holy Trinity by St. Thomas University, and exhibited at the Galleria Ft. Lauderdale’s “Spring for the Arts ~ Life Is Art” South Florida Artist Show, while participating in several group exhibitions, including “Sketchy Miami” at the Bakehouse Art Complex as well as other venues in South Florida.
2012 Solo exhibition at the famous Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti, Miami, (a famous punk club) where she is commissioned to paint three large murals for the ceiling.
Her drawing is published and exhibited at the 40th Biennial of the OSTEN World Drawings Gallery, and she is presented in the “Inside OUT” section of the magazine “IRREVERSABLE”.
2013 Participation in several group exhibitions in South Florida.
2014 Inauguration of the new premises of the NGO Art Studio in Skopje with a collective exhibition. Selected from over 1416 submissions by 475 artists from 53 countries, One of six international winners of the prestigious OSTEN gallery. Her works are exhibited at the OSTEN World Drawings Gallery in Skopje, published in the catalog of the 42nd OSTEN Drawings Biennale and featured on Macedonian Radio-Television MRT.
Appointed Cultural Attaché at the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Macedonia in South Florida.
2015 Gives a solo “painting performance” in conjunction with “Speak Friday” at the Bakehouse Art Complex, and she opens a solo exhibition (running for one year) at the Macedonian Embassy in Washington DC, coinciding with tie events woman celebrating independence day of Macedonia. Selected to be one of 12 artists invited to paint at Spectrum-Miami for a public demonstration during Art Basel Miami Beach.
2016 Collective exhibition at Libraria e Çarshisë in Skopje. Solo exhibition at OSTEN gallery and edition of a limited series portfolio of 10 of her prints and participation in the collective exhibition at Čifte Amam, which is part of the National Gallery of Macedonia. Interview published in the magazine “Life Is Art”.
2017 Second Portfolio in limited series at the Skopje Book Fair. Solo exhibition: “Venus in Vénice: Sequences of Female Illusion” at the Archivi della Misericordia in Venice, Italy, for two weeks during the Venice Biennale, and edition of the book of Irena’s works published by the Galerie Mondial d’Art OSTEN. Exhibition in Rijeka, Croatia.
2018 Leaves Miami’s Bakehouse Art Complex to live and work in Perpignan, France.
2019 Participation in an exhibition at La Boîte à Fabrique. Exhibition of 15 works at the BNP Paribas bank in Perpignan.
Many exhibitions planned for 2020 and 2021 are canceled or postponed due to the COVID crisis.
2021 Article in the Spring 2021 issue of PO Life magazine.
Solo exhibition “Metamorphoses: The Chimerical Tree” at the KIC-QIK Cultural Information Center in Skopje.
2022 Solo exhibitions of the series “Irena Gapkovska: The Chimerique Tree” at NIKKEI, a drawing of which is now part of the permanent collection of the Rigaud Museum. Also from the series “You’ve Got Your Reasons, I’ve Got My Walls” at Casa Bento, “Wish You Were Here” at Best Western Plus Hotel Windsor, and the series “Dreams to Remember: The Embrace of Love” at Yucca, all in Perpignan.
2023 Solo exhibition of “La naissance de Vénus : Au delà du ciel (The Birth of Venus : Push the Sky Away)” for the opening of the Grand Salon du Vienne and a group exhibition of the series “Earth and Life” at the Palais des Congrès, both in Perpignan, and Izložba Slika at Knjižnici Savski Gaj in Zagreb, Croatia. She also participated in the street Art Expo “L’Art Prend la Revolution” and a summer exposition at DUMONDE in Perpignan. Featured in articles in L’Independent (25 January), La Croix du Midi (9 February), and Scoula Salesiani Beruit (23 January).
In addition to working in her studio, Irena continues to pursue exhibition opportunities and renting her work to select companies.
Irena is represented in Europe by Concordia Art Gallery.