MUNSTER | The tragedy of 9/11 shocked the world and instilled enormous doubt and fear in many Americans, but for one local artist, it was a calling.
Valparaiso-based Devarj Design Agency executive creative director and artist Shanoor Devarj took the turmoil of events that followed the devastation of the planes crashes and translated it onto canvas.
"Like everyone else, I was shocked with anger, frustration and confusion," said Devarj, of Munster. "But when I really started to process things, I realized that it was an act of ignorance and a clash of ideologies."
Devarj responded through his art and began to sketch and paint to create 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 considered crayons "like a box of gold." He recollects experimenting and expressing "without limitations."
Proud of his Armenian-American culture, Devarj was exposed to many traditions and religions, including Christian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, and came from a blood line of writers and historians.
Devarj's works, "Fabric of Our Life," "Re-entry Fusion," "Two Star," "Witness 9/11," "Implosion," "Guiding Light," "Triumph of The Human Spirit" and "Anew" were presented at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster during the "Extreme Conditions" show in 2004.
"I love to paint because I feel I understand the world from various perspectives," Devarj said. "I enjoy breaking things down and recreating them. 9/11 helped to clarify things and allowed me to reinvent a healing spirit inside of me."
Devarj will exhibit his art and speak at the Early Learning Partnership's (formerly Parents As Teachers) annual fundraiser and donor recognition, "Color My World," April 10 at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. U.S. 30, Hobart.
"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, ELP board member.