Grace Siregar is an internationally acclaimed artist hailing from Sumatra, Indonesia. She has exhibited in Australia, East Timor, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, the UK and many cities in Indonesia.
Grace spent her early childhood as one of seven siblings in a remote tin-mining complex off Southern Sumatra, Indonesia. In this coastal environment, on the edge of the jungle, drawing was an unusual preoccupation for a small child.
She would draw on every surface she could find — chalk slates from school, the purple covered geology note books that came free from her father’s job on a tin exploration team. Siregar’s father saw that art mattered to her and he spoke to a local itinerant artist named B. Ahmad.
B. Ahmad travelled from village to village earning his living from selling paintings or teaching. He would visit the Siregar family house to teach Grace or take her to the rainforest to draw. He was very disciplined and a great inspiration. He encouraged her to see art as a way of recording our individual perceptions and feelings about what we experience. In Indonesia at the time that view of art was unfamiliar to most people.
Throughout the subsequent journey of Siregar’s upbringing, her education and home life in Asia and Europe, the guidance of B. Ahmad has remained central to her life as an artist.
Grace’s work encompasses painting, performance, installations, sculpture, photographs and videos. Her art speaks about social and political issues such as climate change and the environment; the importance of family and cultural identity; and the dark history of Indonesia through times of war, reconciliation and peace. Today she explores and compares the differences between the cultures of her native Indonesia and the UK.Grace has also mentored artists young and old, and she has worked with school children and street children, helping them to express themselves, particularly using art as therapy in dealing with trauma. Grace currently lives in Hove, UK with her husband and daughter.