MUNSTER | The tragedy of 9/11 shocked the world and placed enormous doubt and fear into the lives of many Americans, but for one local artist, it was a calling.
Valpo-based Devarj Design Agency executive creative director and artist Shanoor Devarj used the turmoil of events that would follow the devastation and translated it onto the canvas.
"Like everyone else, I was shocked with anger, frustration and confusion," Devarj said. "But when I really started to process things, I realized that it was an act of ignorance and a clash of ideologies."
Devarj responded to his emotions through his art and began to sketch and use his acrylics to create some masterful pieces "without thinking," by going back to his roots.
"My father taught me when I was very young that we must create emotion out of pain," said Devarj. "In order to be honest, we need to think simplistically, like a child. In order to transform my emotions to the canvas I had to do a lot of reflecting first."
As a young boy, Devarj was encouraged by his father, Sissag, to express himself and often terrorized his neighborhood painting and remembers thinking crayons were "like a box of gold." He recollects experimenting and expressing "without limitations."
Devarj, proud of his Armenian-American culture, grew up exposed to many traditions and religions, which included Christian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant. He came from a blood line of writers and historians.
His work, which includes "Fabric of Our Life," "Re-entry Fusion," "Two Star," "Witness 9/11," "Implosion," "Guiding Light," "Triumph of The Human Spirit" and "Anew," was presented at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts during an exhibit called Extreme Conditions in 2004.
"I love to paint because I feel I understand the world from various perspectives," said Devarj. "I enjoy breaking things down and recreating them. September 11 helped to clarify things and allowed me to reinvent a healing spirit inside of me."
Devarj will again showcase some of his pieces and be the guest speaker for the Early Learning Partnership's (formerly Parents As Teachers) annual fundraiser and donor recognition "Color My World" on April 10 at Avalon Manor.
"His work is amazing and I am very excited to have him talk about the importance of investing in our children and encouraging them at an early age," said Melissa Garcia, Early Learning Partnership board member. "Shanoor is an inspiration!"