Retired Indonesian diplomat embarks on artistic journey in Korea

Nuradi Noeri at work in his studio/ Courtesy of Nuradi Noeri

By Kim Se-jeong

Nuradi Noeri, 60, a retired Indonesian diplomat, is now in Korea passionately pursuing his childhood dream of becoming an artist. He recently had his debut solo exhibition at East Atelier Gallery in Seoul earlier this month.

“Now, I would like to live my life as an artist. The painting exhibition that I did was my first solo exhibition, and I plan to have more exhibitions in the future,” Nuradi told the Korea Times in an email after the exhibition.

Nuradi’s talent for art was recognized by his parents when he was around eight years old.

“At that time I often visited the area where street painter sold their paintings (in Jakarta). I was happy to see them paint and copied what I saw at home,” he said. “[However], my parents didn’t send me to art school because they believed that a conventional education would get me a better job later. Besides, I moved several times to other countries and the choice to undertake conventional education felt better.”

He went on to receive a master’s degree in international business from Wollongong University in Australia and followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the Indonesian foreign service.

Nuradi Noeri at the opening of his solo exhibition / Korea Times photo by Kim Se-jeong

Despite the demands of his job, he said that he always tried to find time to paint and to continue his passion for learning.

“I’ve done several paintings that I gave to friends, attended a number of small exhibitions in the art community at my hometown,” he said while recalling his time posted in Bern, Switzerland, between 2017 and 2021, where he also participated in a group exhibition.

He draws inspiration from the beauty of nature and the richness of life. “We’re always busy with business and routine activities. I want my paintings to make us aware that life is actually very beautiful.”

The solo exhibition featured paintings of Sumatran tigers.

“The tigers I painted are Sumatran tigers. The island of Sumatra is home to critically endangered tigers. I wanted to present the Sumatran tiger to draw people’s attention to the fact that this animal is almost extinct and to invite people to learn about the tiger.”

Nuradi’s relocation to Korea was motivated by his desire to make his wife happy.

He met his wife on his first assignment in Korea. “In 1997, I met her at a cafe in front of Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul. She was the owner of a cafe and had lived in Indonesia. The conversation was very captivating and a year later, we decided to get married.”

Nuradi paints in his home studio in Gapyeong Couty, Gyeonggi Province. He finds it challenging to navigate the art world in Korea without an education in art.

“However, I am confident that I can produce nice paintings. My wife encourages me,” he said. “My dream is to have my own gallery.”

He is currently working on new works in order to participate in the Incheon Korea Art Festival, which will take place in Incheon’s Songdo neighborhood in October.

To see his paintings, visit









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