I recently had the pleasure of meeting Erfan Daliri, a Baha’i living in Australia who’s an educator, author, event director and an internationally toured spoken word artist. I had heard Erfan’s ‘Unfazed‘ performance at the Sydney Theatre Company, and when I got to meet him, he told me all about an awesome new initiative he had started called the Newkind Festival, an immersive six day conference in Tasmania, Australia, that brings together thought leaders, innovators, pioneers and inspirational speakers from around the world to build capacity, and inspire participants to make a positive impact on society.
I decided to catch up with Erfan to hear some more about the festival and here’s what he had to say: Continue reading
There are so many great initiatives and resources coming to life as a result of all the excitement and efforts of thousands of Baha’is across the globe as they prepare to celebrate this very special time which marks the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith.
One of those initiatives that recently grabbed my attention is the “Light of Unity” Dinner Party Booklet, which Baha’is can use in 2017 and 2019 to host dinner parties in celebration of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah.
Joyce Litoff, a member of the US Baha’i Office of Communications and editor of the “Light of Unity” booklet agreed to answer some questions about the booklet and this project: Continue reading
Do you consider yourself a scientist or an artist, or perhaps neither? What is your definition of the arts and sciences? In your mind are they totally inseparable or are they on two sides of a divide? Continue reading
The period of junior youth is one of transition and discovery. No longer children and not yet youth, those in this age group are searching for their identity and yearning for a sense of purpose. The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program material plays a vital role in assisting these adolescents as they develop a concept of service and discover their place in society. According to the Universal House of Justice, these books “…assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.”
The Discovery series of books, written by Scottish author Jacqueline Mehrabi, acts as the perfect complement to the Junior Youth material. The trilogy has been developed to prepare junior youth for the spiritual obligations that come with reaffirming their Faith in Baha’u’llah – using storytelling to familiarise the readers with certain laws and ordinances including fasting and obligatory prayer. We spoke to Jackie about her latest works and what she hopes the books achieve. Continue reading
Melanie King Dollie is a California–born creative with a background in printmaking and cultural anthropology. Having lived and worked in China, Israel, Latin America, and currently living in Sydney, Australia, she’s passionate about the exploration and use of the arts in helping with social change, so it’s no wonder that Melanie and I hit it off straight away when we fist met recently in Sydney.
Melanie agreed to be interview by Baha’i Blog about her art and the ideas behind her work: Continue reading
With all the activities going on in the Baha’i world, one of the things we really hope to achieve here at Baha’i Blog is to help serve as a resource for Baha’is and their friends, and that’s one of the reasons we launched our very own YouTube channel.
Our first series of videos on Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel are called Studio Sessions, and the series has been extremely popular and is being met with a lot of support and enthusiasm – so thank you everyone!
Over the years we’ve had a lot of people asking us to help them with ideas of games or arts-and-crafts they can use for their children’s classes, holy days, or other Baha’i-inspired activities, so now that Studio Sessions is well underway, we’re now launching a new series called “Creative Ideas” to help with just that. Continue reading
After leaving his home in New Zealand and performing and touring around Australia for a couple of years, Tom Francis found himself arriving in the Australian coastal town of Byron Bay with a car load of instruments and a head full of new songs. After spending six days in a studio with a jazz drummer and an Aria nominated producer, Tom’s second album From Up There was born.
Tom’s new album of Indie and Soul songs were recorded live in the studio, and it really captures the warmth of his voice fused with the simplistic, yet rich sounds of guitar, vintage keyboard work, and smooth drumming which lend themselves well to the emotionally deep and thought provoking journey the album takes you on. Tom’s cover of Doug Cameron’s 1985 hit Mona with the Children, which is based on the true story of a Baha’i girl named Mona Mahmudnizhad who was hanged in 1983 at the age of 16 because she was a Baha’i, and also his song titled This Is Where I Stand, which was inspired by a poem by Mahvash Sabet and is dedicated to her and the many other Baha’is who are currently imprisoned in Iran, are definitely worth mentioning.
I’ve known Tom for a while now and I’ve always been a big fan of his music, so I decided to catch up with him to ask him a few questions about his musical journey and his new album: Continue reading
Reza Mostmand has been practicing and developing the art of Persian Calligraphy since he was a young student in Shiraz, Iran.
Years later while volunteering at the Baha’i World Centre in Israel as a Digital Imaging Restoration Specialist, he had the unique opportunity of being exposed to marvellous works of early masters of Persian calligraphy. This exposure to those historic pieces along with the teachings of the Baha’i Faith are his continuous source of inspiration and motivation.
Now based in Toronto, Canada, Reza works as a senior designer at 19gale, a design, web and multi-media agency which he co-founded over 3 years ago. But that hasn’t stopped Reza from putting ink to paper and continuing the tradition of Persian calligraphy while adding his own unique spin to the art form. His work has been featured in local exhibitions and conferences, and he offers calligraphy workshops for youth and adults where they explore the history of calligraphy through drama, and are taught the basic rules followed by hands-on practice.
I’ve been following Reza’s artwork for quite some time now, and I was finally able to corner him and ask him some questions about his wonderful art: Continue reading
If you’ve never heard of the lyrical medium of what’s known as ‘spoken word’, then in you’re in for a treat! Actually, even if you have heard of it, you’re still in for a treat!
Ladies and gentleman, please welcome to the stage ‘Andrea Hope’!
I first came across an example of Andrea’s spoken word from a video she posted on Youtube based on one of her tracks called ‘World Citizen’ (which I’ve included for everyone to watch further down in this post). According to the Portland Poetry Slam “Andrea journeyed to the center of the Earth and has brought back its heartbeat, carrying the delicate fire on her tongue.” Andrea is co-administrator of the Portland Poets Exchange and she dedicates her time off stage to social progress by teaching community children’s classes, biking in dresses, hosting couch surfers, teaching visual art to men in recovery, and hugging trees.
I got in touch with Andrea to find out more about her and the art of spoken word. Continue reading
Many of you may have already heard the music of The Badasht Project, (or more commonly known as Badasht). Their debut album While The City Sleeps and thier second album release Raise Me Up have been hugely popluar in the world-wide Baha’i community, and now The Badasht Project returns with a new album called Visonaries, which is a 2-CD set of 21 songs dedicated to the youth, featuring an ever-greater circle of collaborators spanning every genre from electronica to bluegrass to hip-hop. The new album features young artists, some already well along their path, others recorded for the first time, creating music ranging from the purely devotional, using passages from the Baha’i Writings to the personal and introspective, in the inspired language of the heart.
The Badasht Project is spearheaded by musicians JB Eckl and Eric Dozier, and it’s expanded into a collective benefiting from many voices and perspectives. The project was originally conceived as a response to the Baha’i Writings regarding the true purpose and station of the arts and by combining the talents and experience of artists, producers, scholars and entrepreneurs, and the project aims to bring to bear the full power of the arts towards the fostering of a more dynamic, spiritual and vibrant community.
It’s been over two years that I’ve wanted to do an interview with JB Eckl and Eric Dozier about The Badasht Project, and so now, three albums later, I was finally able to catch up with JB Eckl to find out more about this wonderful initiative and their latest album. Continue reading