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Visiting artist shares experience

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Mr John Devaraj talks to staff and students of USP at the University’s Laucala campus.

Mr John Devaraj is a name synonymous with art. He is an artist with many talents who hails from Bangalore - the capital of India's Karnataka state.

Mr Devaraj is a practicing sculptor, painter, architect, civil engineer, cinema and stage art director, musician, filmmaker, photographer, playright, actor, puppeteer, taichi exponent, choreographer, facilitator and consultant and runs youth and children’s organisations.

He is currently on a tour and decided to stop over at USP’s Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies (OCACPS) to meet with fellow artists and share his experiences.

Speaking to staff and students of The University of the South Pacific in Suva on 12 October 2015, Mr Devaraj said that an artist needs to be full of imagination.

This, according to him, is more important than simply having knowledge about art.

“The dream of an artist is to become a child again because a child is imaginative, innocent, pure and full of fun and fantasy. An artist is struggling to reach that stage,” he explained.

In his career, Mr Devaraj joined numerous social movements including the Working Class Movement and the Movement for World Peace. He also did a lot of work for Nelson Mandela’s freedom.

“I took part, I invested in it and I contributed my art to it. It is being part of such movements and resistance to oppression that I learnt art.  I learnt the language that artists need to speak on behalf of peoples’ aspirations,” he emphasised.

Mr Devaraj has lectured and held art exhibitions extensively in the United States, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary including carving of a 25 feet tall antifascist monument in Murzsteg, Austria.

He was also the lead organiser of the United Games of Nations in India which is an annual event for children and youth exchange to build bridges of trust and friendship through non-competitive games and dialogue.

He also conducted workshops in Bangalore for Korean, Italian, Japanese, Singaporean and Youth delegations.

Acting Director of OCACPS, Dr David Gegeo said it was an honour having a multi-talented artist of such as Mr Devaraj give a seminar.

“His presentation, infused with him singing and playing the guitar and harmonica, was riveting and inspirational especially when he shared with the audience how through his art he has saved hundreds of street children in Bangalore in India and given them a second chance in life,” said Dr Gegeo.

He added that John’s work is indeed exemplary of the power of art to save, empower, transform and enlighten.


This news item was published on 16 Oct 2015 10:06:33 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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