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Jože Slak Đoka
Jože Slak - Đoka was born in 1951 in Jablan in the Dolenjska region. After finishing elementary school in Koper and secondary school for chemistry in Ljubljana, he enrolled at the Faculty of Chemistry, but soon left, disappointed by institutional science, to join the Faculty of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, where he graduated in 1975 with mentor Gabrijel Stupica. In 1980 he left for the USA where he worked as a carpenter, but returned soon to Slovenia, and later completed the post-graduate study of western painting in Kyoto (1985–87). His stay in Japan was one of the fundamental formative experiences that marked both, his work and his lifestyle. After returning to Slovenia he first operated in Ljubljana, trying for a long time to get a studio, lived in more or less picturesque shacks, got the studio, lost it and returned to Dolenjska – to the village of Jordankal, across from the humorously meaningful Globodol (something like Downville; Upper, Middle and Lower). He has exhibited in a number of national and foreign galleries; with a sort of culmination – at least in the eyes of the locally established institutional hierarchy – at the Modern gallery in 1993, with a large retrospective exhibition. He is also the winner of numerous awards, most recently the Prešeren foundation award in 2007 for his exhibition Slike za slepe (Paintings for the blind) at Mala galerija. He died in 2014.