A Retrospective of Varoujan’s Art


Daniel Varoujan Hejinian poses before the 2010 Genocide recognition billboard.

Daniel Varoujan Hejinian and some of his paintings

By Rosario Teixeira

WATERTOWN, Mass. — A retrospective of Daniel Varoujan Hejinian’s art is on display now through May 2, at the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA), Contemporary Art Gallery, 65 Main St.

The public is invited to a reception on April 22 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The exhibit documents Varoujan’s (as he prefers to be called) journey through the years; it includes pieces from his Peace of Art collection, which conveys a social message; and Colors of Liberty collection, which conveys his gratitude to his adopted country. Also on display will be images of the Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which he has sponsored throughout Massachusetts.  

Varoujan is the founder of Peace of Art, Inc., a non-profit educational organization, which promotes peaceful solutions to conflict. He’s known as the painter of saints because he painted religious murals in seven Armenian churches.

On April 23, Varoujan will be honored at the Massachusetts State House during the commemoration of the 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide sponsored by state Rep. Peter Koutoujian and state Sen. Steve Tolman, for his contributions to the community with his art. Since 1996, Hejinian has been behind the Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards. Each year the simple message calls for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. This year’s the message states “Yes, We Can Recognize the Armenian Genocide.”  One digital billboard has been on display in Foxboro since early March and on April 6 another billboard went up in Watertown.  The collection may be viewed at www.PeaceofArt.org

Varoujan is the son of Armenian Genocide survivors who fled to Syria. Growing up, the oral family history was passed on and the Genocide legacy left a deep imprint on the boy who, at a young age, already expressed his artistic creativity. “They named me Daniel Varoujan, in memory of the great Armenian poet of love and peace, who was one of the first victims of the Armenian Genocide.”

At the age of 19, his artwork was exhibited at the National Museum in Aleppo, Syria. This solo exhibit would mark a pivotal moment in Varoujan’s life. Russian dignitaries who attended the event were so impressed with his paintings that they offered him a scholarship to study art at the prestigious Fine Arts and Drama Institute in Yerevan, Armenia. Varoujan left Aleppo in 1969 for Soviet Armenia to dedicate himself to study fine arts, and in 1976 he completed his master’s degree. “As a theme for my dissertation I chose the Armenian Genocide.  The idea for this gigantic work was born in my mind during my early school years.”

In 1979, he left Soviet Armenia and came to the United States. He left behind a substantial body of work, which became property of the state. He made Boston his home, where he has raised a family and continues to paint and develop as an artist.

Varoujan’s artwork has been exhibited in many prestigious art galleries throughout the United States and it is represented in private and corporate collections around the world.

Varoujan has been honored and has received several awards for his contributions to the community and for his artistic achievements.

The exhibit “Varoujan’s Art, a Journey through the Years,” allows the viewer to glimpse at the artist’s itinerary, how he uses his talent to make sense of the world, reinvent it, and then propose new possibilities. He is represented by Collectors Palette and his works can be viewed at www.collectorspalette.com.