Links between Australia and Slovenia
Slovenia and Australia have steadily increased bilateral relations over the course of last two decades. There is a highly active albeit numerically small Slovenian community throughout Australia which has been part of a process of strengthening ties. Immigrant Slovenes have made their presence felt by involvement in councils, government policy, media and cultural events. Groups and individuals in the context of community and heritage activities have contributed to a wave of more awareness and interest in Slovenia, the people and culture. In personal endeavours artists, such as the abstract expressionist painter Stanislav Rapotec and sculptor Ron Gomboc have made a mark. There have been at least two federal parliamentarians and several recipients of the Order of Australia honours.
Trade, education and cultural ties have heightened between Australia and Slovenia. Trade has increased with mounting Slovenian exports. Imports to Australia have been with companies Sloveniales, Elan, Gorenje, Delamaris, and Kolinska. In 2002 the Australian retailing giant Harvey Norman Holdings Limited opened a furniture retail store in Ljubljana, a store in Koper in 2006, and a third is planned in Celje in 2007. In Australia more companies are interested in trade in Europe. The European Union is Australia's largest trading partner for the last decade. Slovenia with its port of Koper on the Adriatic Sea provides access to expanding markets in central and eastern Europe.
Slovenian scientists, and academics in other fields participate in international conferences and have been invited to lecture at Australian universities. Slovenian artists, poets, singers and bands have appeared in major Australian cities. There have been a number of art exhibitions, notably the Contemporary Slovenian Graphic Design in Sydney and Shakespeare in theatres of central Europe between the two wars 1918-1938 at Multicultural Festival in Canberra. Irwin Art Group, part of the Neue Slowenische Kunst has exhibited work several times in Sydney and in Melbourne. The work of artist Matej Andraž Vogrinčič was one of the high points of the Adelaide Festival; similarly the Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun at a previous festival. The conceptual artist Marko Peljhan has performed in a multinational production in 2000, and sculptor Gregor Kregar displays his work in galleries and special exhibits since 2006. Slovenian electronic music producing team Recycled Loops featuring Dj Umek and Dj Valentino Kanzyani has toured major Australian cities twice drawing large audiences and winning public acclaim.