- Baha’is believe in the power of prayer and you’ll find Baha’is and their friends, throughout the world, getting together to pray. This is often referred to as a ‘devotional gathering’ or ‘devotional meeting’, and they happen in diverse settings, whether in cities or villages.
I hope you enjoy this small gallery of Dani Falcone’s Baha’i-inspired watercolour paintings and that their vibrancy and earnestness touches your heart as it does mine! Beneath the images is a short interview with Dani where she shares about finding her role as an artist and the historical significance of making Baha’i-inspired art now.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Dani Falcone and I am a 36 years old Brazilian living in the United States.
I come from a Baha’i family that always encouraged me to discover ways to praise God. I always remember my mom when I was a child as the woman who drank a lot of coffee and read a good number of pages from the Baha’i Holy Writings (I guess she believed that she had to be very alert to understand Baha’u’llah’s Writings–one blink and she could have missed something).
During my pre-youth years everything I did to express my love for God, my mom approved of; singing prayers at Nineteen Day Feasts, painting, acting at Baha’i summer schools, everything. My last performance in a Baha’i event as a singer was for a solo of the song Halcón Real in my native language (Portuguese) to almost 5,000 people at the Inauguration of the Baha’i Temple of South America. Holy Tahirih! It was a wild experience!
So, worship has always played a central role in my life.
As for profession, I am a self-taught multidisciplinary artist. And it goes like this:
I have a degree in cinema and communications; I worked for 9 years as a musical singer/ actress; 7 years as an artistic cake decorator; and for the last few months I have been learning visual arts and creating Baha’i inspired content to my YouTube channel.
I have to confess, I used to look at myself as a Frankenstein character. As if the diverse and confused parts that made me up never fit together. But I understood that I should not feel bad because I wanted to express myself through various forms of art, instead of focusing on one particular area. I fervently started to pray and ask Baha’u’llah that all my art could serve as worship to God, inspiration and to be helpful to people. So, I set my artistic bird free.
Could you please tell us a little about your art? What media do you use?
I am still finding my art style since I am a student. All I know is that I am very committed to detailed compositions. Actually, I have always tried to imprint that characteristic in my past professional fields.
Currently I see myself at the very beginning of a process of self-taught visual arts learning and I have already fallen in love with flower motifs, architecture and Islamic Illumination.
When it comes to media I love to work with watercolours because it can be built up in as many layers as the paper can handle. Sometimes the final artwork becomes this deep ocean full of levels to explore, yet they are not fully veiled as they are still transparent and show the white paper underneath. It is magical.
My aim with my watercolour paintings of the Baha’i Holy Places is to transport the collectors into the actual places. That’s why I like to build many layers and outline as many details as possible. Obviously, they are still artistic paintings, and therefore I choose vibrant colours, thereby guaranteeing a touch of fantasy.
What inspires you to create? Why is creativity and artistic expression important to you? Or important to the world?
First and definitely the Holy Writings. If you are looking for real mind blowing inspiration, you should go straight to the Baha’i Writings.
Secondly, what has been inspiring me to create is music, nature, other artist’s works, and recently, my curiosity about the form that Baha’i art will take in the future. Will there be something that can be called “Baha’i art”? Researching about that subject, I found a possible answer. An excerpt from a letter written by the Universal House of Justice says: “The beloved Guardian makes it clear that the flowering of the arts which is the result of a divine revelation comes only after a number of centuries (…) We are now merely at the beginning of this great process (…)” 1
This statement is so prophetically exciting! To realize that I can be a part of that construction, even knowing that I may not be able to see it take a defined shape, is amazing.
So, what I understood of this text is that, no, we should not call Baha’i-inspired works as “Baha’i art”.
More significant than titling a movement is that present or future art will always be important. It helps us to think about God; it can delicately attract the hearts of the rebel materialists into spiritual fields; open the minds to the mysteries that science didn’t yet figure out; change the status quo; feed the eyes with beauty. To me, art is the ticket to the most insane and legitimate journey to other worlds.
Thank you, Dani, for taking the time to share this with us!
You can find more of Dani’s art on Instagram.
- Compilation of Compilations: Volume 3. Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith. Mona Vale: Baha’i Publications Australia; 2000
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