DIEGO LUISTER Berel, is an ancestry Javanese father and a mother from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), who likes to paint and listen to traditional Indonesian music. He inherited his father’s talent and fell in love with painting when he was still attending a special needs school in South Jakarta.

Although he has a developmental disorder (Down Syndrome), Diego has participated in many painting exhibitions in Jakarta and other big cities, and one of his paintings “Under the Sea” was auctioned by Sotheby’s Jakarta and curated by Christie’s at the charity event “Peduli Anak Indonesia” organized by the Ministry of Trade in 2016. Proceeds from the auction went on to help several elementary schools in the city of Kupang, NTT.

In March 2022, five of his paintings were submitted for competition to Holy Art London, namely: “Balinese Penjor”, “Twilight on the Clifts”, “Somewhere in Venice”, “The Wrath of Gods of Winds”, “Mount Semeru Lava”, but unexpectedly he won the first winner and has the right to hold a solo exhibition there. Diego will also be the first Indonesian painter to exhibit several of his paintings in offline and virtual exhibitions.

“Somewhere in Venice”

The Holy Art Gallery is in one of the most vibrant and diverse community of artists and creative independents in London and located at The Factory, 21-31 Shacklewell Ln, London E8 2DA. The gallery offering artist opportunities and bringing together a worldwide audience through physical and virtual art shows.

The moment “Balinese Penjor” is translated by Diego with the soft colorful flashes of a banjar in Bali with the wind blowing the Balinese flag banners or Balinese Penjor from behind the hill. He seemed to consider the value of exposure to light and dark colors in his paintings, by not showing the blue color of the sky that covered the entire upper area of ​​his painting. This is what the curators at Holy Art judge to be entitled to be the first winner in the virtual exhibition, in addition to the soft colorful game which is an artistic expression of this 22-year-old man with special needs.

Some of his paintings also flew to Malaysia, Singapore, England, the Netherlands, the United States and other cities in Indonesia. Likewise, Diego’s recent work depicts human life and colorful aesthetics, while the hallmark of all his paintings is the play of color by using a classic palette knife simultaneously in both hands as he paints or with the brush.

Most of his paintings are dominated by acrylic paints, but when he tries to use oil paints in his painting entitled “Rising Sun”, many say that one of the individual with special needs can be rich without being expected. Diego’s painting “Rising Sun” peeking behind the hill is one of them.

“Rising Sun”

Although his paintings are still categorized as ‘green’, because he continues to explore and explore the beauty of contemporary art and visual art, most of which carry the themes of culture, nature, environment, social and many of his paintings touch things that are considered “out of the box”, expressed through his paintings. Apart from painting on canvas, Diego also tried to paint in several media such as T-shirts, Electric Guitar and suitcases, tote bags, tumblers, sofa cushions, art porcelain vases, art imagination on a glass frame, pouch bags, glass plates, backpacks, sneaker shoes, lampshades, and others.

At least now Diego Lusiter Berel has proven to the world that disabilities are not an excuse to improve his abilities, defying all odds.  [ER]