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Josefina Hernandez works magic with a small knife and a piece of paper. I was enamoured of her work before, but I especially delighted in the recent work that she did in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab: a delicate rendering of the room where He declared His mission. Below you’ll find a series of photographs capturing that breathtaking piece, as well as a few words from Josefina about her art.
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia in a very creative home, and I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. My parents are both creative people, my dad is an architect and my mom a textile designer. They were very supportive and encouraging of artistic expression.
When I was sixteen, I moved to Toronto, Canada where I went to high school and later studied Visual Studies and Art History at the University of Toronto. My program was an interdisciplinary program and I was able to experiment with different mediums such as printmaking, photography, drawing and painting. In my last year of school I took a class called Works on Paper which explored the potential of paper from drawing to object-making. This class opened my mind to the possibilities of papercutting and I’ve been working to develop my art practice in that medium ever since.
Baha’i Blog: What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, architectural forms, light and fleeting moments of beauty that get us to slow down as we rush about our day. I am also curious about the ways we are connected to our environment and how our spiritual and material realities relate to the spaces we inhabit.
Baha’i Blog: What is your creative process like?
I am constantly looking at my surroundings for inspiration, capturing moments and spaces with quick snaps that later gets translated into drawings, and ultimately into papercut compositions hand cut with an x-acto knife. Once I have the composition drawn, I begin cutting and make decisions about positive and negative spaces as I go along. For me, the cutting is a meditative process where I let my intuition guide me.
Baha’i Blog: What projects are you currently working on?
My most recent project was a large papercut piece in commemoration of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, entitled Break of Dawn. Currently, I am working on a series of works based on photographs I’ve taken in the last two years in the neighbourhood where I live, Washington Heights, NYC.
Baha’i Blog: What are some words of encouragement you might give to someone interested in pursuing the arts?
I am encouraged by the Baha’i Writings on the importance of the arts, so I would like to share one of my favourite with you:
“O thou servant of the One true God! In this universal dispensation man’s wondrous craftsmanship is reckoned as worship of the Resplendent Beauty. Consider what a bounty and blessing it is that craftsmanship is regarded as worship. In former times, it was believed that such skills were tantamount to ignorance, if not a misfortune, hindering man from drawing nigh unto God. Now consider how His infinite bestowals and abundant favors have changed hellfire into blissful paradise, and a heap of dark dust into a luminous garden.” 1
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Josefina, for sharing this with us!
You can find out more about Josefina from her website: www.josefinahernandez.com You can also follow her on Instagram. Her handle is @josefinahernandezart
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