Feature Story – Sam Siren

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Sam Siren believes that anything is possible! She loves all forms of art and whole heartedly embraces every experience that life has to offer. Sam radiates a joie de vivre and believes that it is absolutely possible to make a career out of doing what you love. However, her journey to finally making art a full time career was not a straightforward one. You might even say that like ‘Alice in the Wonderland’, she opened many doors and had a variety of adventures before realising her true calling. A talented self taught artist; singer/songwriter; musician and dancer Sam is now at the stage in her career where she is confident about herself and her goals. This young woman now stands poised and ready to make her unique contribution to the contemporary art scene in Brunei.

 

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“Like Alice in the Wonderland, she opened many doors and had a variety of adventures before realising her true calling.”

Not surprisingly, many members of Sam’s family have an avid interest in the arts and this helped to nurture her creative spirit. She fondly reminisces that it was her Dad who bought her the first set of crayons and coloured pencils. Sam admitted that even though she always loved art when she was growing up she did not think of it as a career so instead she went on to do a Degree in Media Communications in Melbourne.

Whilst there she realised how vibrant and multifaceted the world of art was and met people from around the globe some of whom were doing tattoo art, graffiti art, Japanese circus art and even food art. Sam’s eyes lit up when she talked about the two years spent in Melbourne as she was able to make connections with like minded people, to learn, to share and to be part of a dynamic and progressive art scene. It was at this point in her life that Sam realised that Media Communications was not the career for her, but she was not yet ready to dedicate her life to art.

After returning to Brunei she worked as a reporter, graphic artist, Creative Director and even managed to do a course in Early Childhood Education. And while working in a school she discovered her love for helping kids with special needs through art. However, it was not until she started working with Alliance Francaise in 2011 that she was encouraged by the Director to actively pursue her love for art. Sam explained that “The Director at that time Anaïs Maro was extremely honest with me. She recognised my interest and talent in art and advised me to do a one year Art Residency in Malaysia. I was uncertain, but her support helped me to make the right decision.”

While exploring various career options Sam still found the time to do what she loved most – art, music and dance. In 2010 she took part in an art exhibition in Melbourne entitled, “No Compromises” and once again was able to reconnect with artists from around the world. As a musician who plays the violin, piano and acoustic guitar Sam composed and sang with local band, “Senja Kala” and is currently a member of the band “Karacoma” and says that she is “trying to create a different style of heavy metal music using the drums and bass from jazz”.

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She is also a contemporary dancer and trains with Dorad Ly, a professional instructor at Le Swan Dance Studio. She gives him credit for also supporting and encouraging her along the way to further express her artistic ability through contemporary dance and believes that “dancing inspires her to do art”.

This self taught artist experiments with different types of art and is most proud of the series she created entitled, “Rage, Beg and Lost” which she painted using “her hands and feet”. Her work is inspired by the “forms of worms and caterpillars” and when asked to further explain this she said that “these insects represent the concept of infinity, that there’s no limit to our emotions.”

Sam lives by the saying “Never stop – meaning, never stop learning about everything around you”. Open minded and ready to take risks, Sam’s goal is to bring contemporary art to the forefront of the local art scene. She is now working with a small team of artists at Kaleidoscope, an art studio which is co-owned by Lisa Ahmad who Sam says is also “an accomplished and amazing artist.”

This team shares her goal and together they have planned an exhibition which will help to educate the public about the beauty and meaning of contemporary art. In terms of the local art scene, she thinks that “it is slowly maturing and more people are becoming interested in different types of art.” Sam beams when she says that at Kaleidoscope she has finally found a place where she feels happy and comfortable to create her own unique style of artwork.

Today she describes herself as being “contented, wiser, stronger and more decisive.” We believe that Sam Siren’s journey to becoming a full time artist should be an inspiration to younger people who are considering art as a career. She has clearly demonstrated that with a positive attitude, passion and serious commitment, “anything is possible!”

This article was published in the Apr-Jun 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!