Lifestyle

21 Sep 2021, 09:54 AM

STA, 21 September 2021 - The annual festival dubbed Cultural Embassy of Palestine is starting in Ljubljana on Tuesday evening to explore the theme of the bond between Palestine and the land through film screenings, an exhibition and a round table discussion featuring various guests with connections to Palestine.

The Cultural Embassy of Palestine is an annual event, organised by the civil society initiative Palestinian Rights Movement, in cooperation with the Janez Boljka Art Gallery, the Divja Misel Institute, the Vodnik Homestead and the Slovenian Cinematheque.

It aims to stimulate reflection and broaden the understanding of what is happening in Palestine through Palestinian culture, music, literature and history, the Palestinian Rights Movement said.

The event starts on Tuesday at the Janez Boljka Art Gallery with the photographic exhibition Al Ard - Land, organised in collaboration with photographer Fatima Abbadi and Palestinian artist Khaled Hourani.

The exhibition aims to show "the unbreakable bond between the Palestinian people and their land," reads the press release. They will also host Palestinian poet Fawzi Abder Rahim from Maribor.

On Wednesday evening, the Vodnik Homestead will host a discussion entitled Palestinian Land: Where It All Begins And Ends.

The guests will be journalist Fareed Taamallah and his son, activist and graduate student Eyad Taamallah, who will join via video-link and shed light on the daily struggle for land in the Israeli-controlled Occupied Palestinian Territories.

An activist and student from Berlin, Fidaa Zaanin, will also join the discussion, which will be followed by a screening of the documentary film Nun Wa Zaytun (2014) by Emtiaz Diab.

The event concludes on 23 September at the Slovenian Cinematheque with a screening of Najwa Najjar's feature film Pomegranates and Myrrh (Al-mor wa al rumman - 2008), a winner of multiple international prizes.

20 Sep 2021, 18:16 PM

The 2021-22 academic year at the British International School of Ljubljana has had an excellent start, open now for four weeks, with lessons running as normal in the classroom, educational trips and a varied after-school provision in full swing.

The first lessons have already taken place in their new building, and this high-quality addition to BISL’s campus will provide the community with the finest facilities to work with and create incredible learning opportunities for the students. 

As an outstanding school, BISL is proud to be a truly international community, with students from over 40 different nationalities and an extensive English provision to ensure students grow into well-rounded global citizens. 

Promoting a love of literacy, reading and learning is at the heart of BISL’s curriculum, and with a new library, the upcoming Story Time sessions are a wonderful opportunity to get the wider community involved.

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“We are delighted with our new building, it is an excellent addition to our growing school campus which provides our students with further opportunities to develop their literacy skills.  I really look forward to joining our staff in these Story Time sessions with young learners, it is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spread a passion for reading.” - Paul Walton, Principal

As part of the Early Years curriculum, children are given access to a wide range of reading materials and are encouraged to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves. The learning is linked through topics, to help the children make connections and apply what they have learnt in a range of situations.

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If you have children aged 3-6 and are looking to make new friends in a fun, multi-cultural setting, if they love stories and are interested in learning English, sign up for one or more of these Story Time sessions at BISL:

  • Thursday, September 23 | 15:00 - 16:30
  • Thursday, October 7 | 9:00 - 10:30
  • Thursday, October 21 | 15:00 - 16:30
  • Thursday, November 4 | 9:00 - 10:30

 Numbers are limited, so please register here to avoid disappointment. Note that visitors will be asked to show proof of PCT upon arrival.

20 Sep 2021, 13:11 PM

STA, 20 September - The Cukrarna Gallery, managed by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana (MGML), will open its doors to the public on 24 September in a completely renovated former sugar factory on the banks of the river Ljubljanica, in what marks the creation of a new platform for contemporary art. The renovation paid tribute to the building's history.

MGML director Blaž Peršin has told the STA that the design of the Cukrarna Gallery itself already expresses a duality - a historic exterior and a completely modern interior. In terms of content, it will be dedicated to contemporary art of various genres.

The Cukrarna Gallery is located in a former sugar refinery, while it was home to several famous writers of Slovenian Modernism at the beginning of the 20th century, who also brought modernity into the building, albeit in a very different way.

Now, Cukrarna will try to bring new perspectives on "where contemporary art is going and what problems today's society is facing", and become an open public space for visitors from home and abroad.

Before starting to develop their vision, strategy and programme, MGML familiarised themselves with the work of similar institutions abroad, but according to Peršin, they are aware that they needed to find their own path.

He also said that the Cukrarna Gallery will not create its own collection, but it will house a library. Alenka Gregorič, Cukrarna's artistic director, explained that it will be designed with careful consideration and themed around contemporary art.

"Much like the building itself. We're slowly moving in, bringing in content, and making long-term alliances with artists. We invite them to cooperate, to help us build the Cukrarna Gallery programme with their projects, ideas and aspirations, and to contribute to the vision of this new contemporary art centre," she added.

A separate space at the Cukrarna Gallery will be dedicated to Slovenian Modernism. According to Peršin, comic artist Andrej Štular will interpret the history of Cukrarna and the authors of Slovenian Modernism in a playful way in the corridor opposite the future library.

A multi-purpose hall and a small classroom/conference room have also been set up in the basement, and will be used for workshops during the day and lectures in the evenings, while the amphitheatre behind Cukrarna will be the venue for events such as screenings, concerts and social gatherings.

Gregorič said that because they dared to think big, they had also shaped their team according to the needs of the space. For example, they have hired a special curator for performing arts and producers, which is rare in museums and galleries.

The Cukrarna Gallery will open its doors with the international exhibition entitled The Wonderfulness of Memory (Čudovitost Spomina). The title itself is a paraphrase of a sentence from a letter by Modernist poet Dragotin Kette to Modernist writer Ivan Cankar, and the entire exhibition will be dedicated to the theme of memory, both collective and individual.

According to Gregorič, the theme of memory is certainly appropriate for the space in which the exhibition will be put up: "Cukrarna is deeply ingrained in all of our memories, whether from our school days or from the years of watching it fall into disrepair.

"But if we explore it further, we can see that it also contains many bright stories of joy and happiness, not just misery and sadness that are usually associated with it. We want to show that in life, one goes hand in hand with the other," she added.

The opening exhibition will feature works by artists including Jimmie Durham, winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, Sophie Calle, Rosa Barba, Janet Cardiff and Ernesto Neto.

The exhibition will also bring a selection of works by Slovenian artists Marjetica Potrč, Vadim Fiškin, Miha Štrukelj, Tobias Putrih and Aleksandra Vajd. It will be on display across the whole Cukrarna building.

Learn more at the gallery's website

17 Sep 2021, 13:35 PM

STA, 17 September 2021 - Cerknica Lake (Cerkniško jezero) is Slovenia's largest natural lake when full, but this September the intermittent lake is completely dry for the first time in 18 years. It will take a lot of rain to fill it up again.

"Official measurements show we have had about 30% of the normal amount of rain for this time of year by today," Dejvid Tratnik of the Notranjsko Regional Park said on Thursday before rain clouds made their way into the country.

While there should be at least some of the lake visible at this time of year, the water level has dropped to as low as 22 metres below the ground level, one of the lowest watermarks ever since cavers have been doing official measurements.

Below, the lake in wetter times

"You can imagine how much rain it will take for the water level to rise at least to the bottom of the lake," said Tratnik.

The drought threatens the animal species living in and near the lake, so every time when the lake is dry fishermen are rescuing fish, crabs, amphibians and the offspring of grebes who are not yet capable of flying away.

Due to attempts in the past to dry it out, the lake eventually started going out several times a year. As a result of human activity, the flora and fauna species typical for the area started disappearing.

The populations of native fish species such as pikes are shrinking by the year. To restore their living environment, efforts are under way to re-establish the dynamics of seasonal variations in the lake as it was 200 years ago.

One such was renaturating the Stržen stream, a process that was successfully completed at the end of August.

"We filled up a canal that was dug up 90 years ago and restored natural pathways of water so as to keep water in the lake for at least some time and provide extra water for fish and other aquatic life," said Tratnik.

15 Sep 2021, 17:26 PM

STA, 15 September 2021 - UNESCO, the United Nations educational scientific and cultural organisation, has formally declared a biosphere reserve spanning the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, the first five-country biosphere in the world.

The area, spanning 900,000 hectares along the three rivers, has thus become the largest protected riparian reserve in Europe.

The nomination was jointly submitted by Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia in late-2019 and UNESCO formally endorsed it at Wednesday's meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

The lower sections of the three rivers and their flood plains form one of the most bio-diverse natural environments in Europe.

The river flow constantly creates new habitats for numerous endangered animal and plant species, including more than 300 bird species. Many fish species, such as sterlet and huchen or Danube salmon, use the 700km-long river network to migrate.

Due to its size and potential, the biosphere reserve is "the first example of the protection of our unique natural areas in conjunction with the development of sustainable business practices," said WWF Adria, an environmental NGO.

Learn more about the biosphere here

14 Sep 2021, 12:59 PM

STA, 14 September 2021 - A survey UNICEF Slovenia carried out in June among 400 respondents aged 10 to 18 has shown that a lack of quality inter-personal relations during the Covid-19 epidemic has deepened distress of children and youths in Slovenia. Many children and youths do not turn to adults for help and are trying to resolve their problems themselves.

The survey on mental health of children and youths in Slovenia has also shown that the majority felt strained or under stress "often or all the time" in the past year, UNICEF Slovenia said in a press release on Tuesday.

UNICEF Slovenia has been warning for some time that school closure and other measures to contain the epidemic have had a largely negative impact on children, with risks of abuse, violence and poverty increasing alongside inadequate diet, a rise in overweight children, and a considerable rise in psychological distress.

As many as 70% felt unexplained pain in the stomach or chest, did not feel well physically, or experienced sleep disorders, long-lasting sadness and despair. Some of them felt several of these symptoms simultaneously for a longer period of time, and almost 50% reported to be more anxious than before the epidemic.

21% assessed their mental health as poor, 60% are more afraid of the future as a result of the epidemic, and the majority address their issues without the help of others.

The distress of children and youths remains largely overlooked. The pandemic has caused many new instances of distress, while further deepening the existing issues, said family therapist Polona Greif.

"The scope of much of the distress has not yet become fully visible, but will be certainly felt for a long time by both society and by the most vulnerable individuals," she added.

A rise in distress among children has also been noticed at UNICEF's safe points around the country. There are 1,050 safe points in 120 towns, with more than 2,050 trained adults providing protection, help or just a piece of advice.

10 Sep 2021, 12:32 PM

STA, 10 September - The SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, a leading national opera and ballet theatre, has produced a diverse 2021/2022 season headlined Long Live Opera and Ballet, the opera's artistic director Marko Hribernik says. It brings music by Russian greats Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, Italian composers Donizetti and Bellini and France's Gounod.

"Apart from that, we have Rok Golob's The Sound, a Slovenian novelty which combines music and a spectacle that our opera milieu has not seen yet," he told the STA on Thursday.

The show will open in May, to be directed by Jaša Koceli and conducted by Simon Dvoršak.

There are also some shows from the last seasons which could not premiere due to the epidemic, such as The Capulets and Montagues, opening in October, said Hribernik.

Directed by Frank van Laecke, Willian Shakespeare's classic is set in a photo studio in Verona in 1945, and brings just a day in the Romeo and Juliet story.

Van Laecke will also direct Charlesa Gounod's opera Faust, which is due for premiere in March, with Ayrton Desimpelaere as conductor.

The season will open on 30 September with Igor Stravinsky's meditative ballet Apollo and Oedipus Rex, a large-scale oratorio dwelling on the question of eternal curse.

Its choreographer is the Ljubljana ballet's artistic director Renato Zanella, Rocc is its director and set designer and Aleksandar Marković the conductor.

Zanella will also direct Sergei Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet, due to premiere in February, to be conducted by Kevin Rhodes.

Strune, or Strings, a triptych by ballet choreographers Eno Peci, Jacopo Godani and Leo Mujić based on music by some of the the world's greatest composers, will open in November, to be conducted by Ernst Theis.

Donizetti's comic opera The Love Potion is scheduled for January, to be directed by Krešimir Dolenčić and conducted by Simon Krečič.

Zanella will moreover direct a ballet diptych entitled A Viennese Evening - Opus 73/Everybody Waltzes, a co-production with the Cankarjev Dom arts centre, to be played in April after it premiered at Cankarjev Dom last month.

The last premiere is scheduled for June - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, based Alexander Pushkin's novel, to be directed by Vinko Möderndorfera and conducted by Alan Buribayev.

Visit the website and get tickets

10 Sep 2021, 09:35 AM

If you’ve been to Ljubljana on a Friday during the warmer months you’ll have come across Open Kitchen, the hottest spot in town for a meal outside and your choice from dozens of stalls run by notable local restaurants, cafés and food producers. It’s a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner, or just get a drink and take in the atmosphere of a community at play, something to make you feel good and ready for the weekend.

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Ptuj. Photo: Open Kitchn

So as we enter last days of another strange and unusual summer the welcome news is that the team behind Open Kitchen is taking the fun on tour, with four events on Saturdays around Slovenia – in Novo mesto, Ptuj, Vipava and Slovenj Gradec – creating spaces where people can come together and celebrate the simple pleasures of good food, drink and company. The dates and locations are below, and note that Open Kitchen will still be in Ljubljana every Friday until the end of October, weather and COVID restrictions permitting.

11 September: Glavni trg in Novo mesto,

18 September: Mestni trg in Ptuj,

25 September: atrium of Lanthieri Mansion in Vipava

2 October: Trg svobode and Glavni trg in Slovenj Gradec

Keep up to date with the latest from Open Kitchen by following them on Facebook

10 Sep 2021, 09:16 AM

STA, 10 September 2021 - The 34th Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Arts is opening on Friday in several venues in the capital. Running until 21 September, the festival is themed around nostalgia of a former computing company while also looking towards the future in featuring young artists.

The biennial runs under the title Iskra Delta, the name of a former Slovenia-based computing company and one of the largest producers of computers in Yugoslavia, which went bust just before the collapse of the former state.

The story about the rise and fall of Iskra Delta is shrouded in mystery and is thus a subject of various projections, which sometimes border on conspiracy theories, the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) has said.

The organisers of the event have invited to the project a wide range of artists who "use the power of fiction and speculative design, play fantasy roles and games and use the internet, pop and emerging technologies."

MGLC director Nevenka Šivavec, the artistic manager of the biennial, said that the event gathered young Central and East European artists who understand Iskra Delta more as a "story about something that could have been realised, but has not been."

Curator Tjaša Pogačar added for the STA that the event brought new projects by young artists and groups, including BCAA System (Czech Republic), Inside Job (Poland), Botond Keresztesi and Zsofia Keresztes (Hungary) and Mario Mu (Croatia).

Slovenia will be represented at the biennial by Andrej Škufca, Neja Zorzut and Luka Lavrenci.

The main programme will be accompanied by electronic and pop music concerts, workshops, publications, conferences and talks about the "possibilities provided by the new technological revolution and tactical potentials of Yugo-futurism."

Traditionally, the festival will also feature a solo exhibition by the winner of its grand prize from last year, the London-based artist Hamja Ahsan, which displays the "history of a fictitious country of shy, introvert and autistic people."

Established in 1955, the Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Arts has always responded to the ever-changing social and political context, while re-shaping its own identity and strategies, the organisers noted.

The biennial continues to draw from its history and context, with the 34th edition finding incentive in a special local case of technological development and its unrealised potential, they added.

You can learn more at the website

08 Sep 2021, 09:36 AM

STA, 7 September 2021 - The latest in a series of blood lead tests in three-year-olds living near the shuttered lead and zinc mine in Mežica has shown that blood lead values in children have increased on average compared to last year, however the situation has nevertheless improved in the past three years. The level of concern has been exceeded in 6% of the children.

The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) continues to conduct these annual screenings as part of a programme aimed at rehabilitating the environment in the heavily polluted Upper Mežica Valley.

In the spring, the local unit of the institute called on 129 candidates from the Mežica and Črna na Koroškem municipalities to participate in the study. A total of 81 blood samples were collected and 66 passed muster for testing.

The elevated risk threshold, set at 100 microgrammes per litre of blood, was exceeded in four children or 6.1% of the total.

This is somewhat higher than in the past two years and is slightly above the target of the 15-year environmental remediation programme, which is defined as less than 5% of the children exceeding the elevated risk threshold by 2022.

All the participants with blood values above the level of concern this year come from the Črna na Koroškem municipality. The highest value recorded was 163 microgrammes per litre of blood.

On the other hand, 61% of the children had levels below 50 microgrammes. On average, higher levels were found in boys than girls and in children from the Črna na Koroškem municipality, which is on par with the average values of previous years, the NIJZ said on Tuesday.

High lead levels were also found in some children who were included in this year's screening due to their parents' wishes even though they are not aged three. These high values are linked to living in the most afflicted area or to occupational exposure of the children's parents.

"In the past three years, the results have been much better than in the 2016-2018 period," said the NIJZ, noting that the programme's target of less than 5% was near.

07 Sep 2021, 14:01 PM

STA, 7 September - Mladi Plus, a union representing students, pupils and the jobless under 35, has accused the Ljubljana and Maribor medical faculties of turning down all non-EU citizens who wanted to get enrolled with a vague explanation, alleging "discrimination based on nationality". The STA is awaiting the medical schools to respond to the allegation.

Mladi Plus, or Youth Plus, said on Tuesday that some places at Slovenian faculties are annually reserved for ethnic Slovenians without citizenship and foreign students.

It said the non-EU candidates had been promised at open days that the Ljubljana and Maribor universities would accept all of them if they met entry requirements.

But at the end of August, when it was already too late to apply to study at other faculties, they were told their applications would not be even considered.

The explanation was that all the places had been reserved for Slovenians without Slovenian citizenship, which the trade union said had never happened before.

The union finds problematic the fact the candidates, who had turned to it for help, had received the news when it was too late to apply at other faculties.

The number of rejected candidates is 123, of whom 101 at the Ljubljana faculty, said Youth Plus, which is affiliated with the country's largest trade union association, ZSSS.

It also said the chancellors and deans do not respond to invitations for a meeting with the candidates, while university services said the rejected candidates had the right to appeal.

The trade union said that foreign students represent almost 10% of all students studying in Slovenia, of whom more than half come from the Western Balkans.

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