Tag Archives Baha’i art

Illuminations – A Book of Poetry by June Perkins

In The Dawn-Breakers, the Bab quotes a well-known Islamic tradition that states, “Treasures lie hidden beneath the throne of God; the key to those treasures is the tongue of poets.” June Perkins’ book of poems, Illuminations, written in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, seems to meet that description.

Illuminations contains 19 poems, one story, and is accompanied by the art of Ruha and Minaira Fifita. Some of the poems harken back to the days of The Dawn-Breakers and others are timeless in their setting but as a collection, June has deftly sewn them all together: each poem is a jewel, the collection is a well-arranged piece of jewelry.

June tells us all about her book in this interview and we hope you enjoy our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a poet?

Poetry has been a lifelong friend, through thick and thin, from my youngest brother’s acquired head injury to living through Cyclone Yasi and its aftermath and encountering the trials and joys of life.

I think of poets as canaries flying into the darkness of human experience to emerge with balls of light. Poetry, as well as being a way to make meaning of experiences, is a powerful way to pay tribute to all we might be grateful in our lives, from people to places, to a sense of the Divine, or a Great Spirit, we may call God. Continue reading

Jungle of Virtues: A Book by Chelsea Lee Smith & Constanze von Kitzing

When I heard that Chelsea Lee Smith and Constanze von Kitzing had teamed up to create a board book for young children, called Jungle of Virtues, my heart sang! Sang, sang and sang some more! There are so few Baha’i-inspired materials for this age range, and Chelsea and Constanze are super talented. Among many of their other individual accomplishments, I interviewed Chelsea about her book, Garden of Virtues, and I chatted with Constanze about her illustrations for children’s prayer books. I am so delighted they have partnered to created this book and am also excited that they shared some behind-the-scenes information with me. Here’s our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: What inspired this book?

When I became a parent, I really wanted storybooks that would teach my children (and remind myself!) about the importance of practicing virtues each day. So in the past few years I have written several books for older children to share analogies about what virtues are. The first is called Mason’s Greatest Gems which was a collaboration with Elaheh Bos that shows how we each can find virtues inside us similar to mining gems. The second book is called Garden of Virtues which was illustrated by Shimone Mackie, and which uses the analogy of growing plants in a garden to share the idea of “growing” virtues in ourselves through practice. These books have been used in homes, schools and Baha’i children’s classes all around the world which has been awesome! But I really wanted to create a similarly virtues focused book which was appropriate for younger kids. I love rhyming books, and one day I began playing around with the idea of different animals showing virtues. From there I completed the poem which was the first draft of Jungle of Virtues and it sat mostly idle on my laptop for a few years before I came into contact with Constanze, who was the driving force behind getting it published.

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Bicentenary Website Showcases Artistic Expression from Around the World

At Baha’i Blog, we’re huge fans of artistic expressions so we wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the wonderful section on the official bicentenary website dedicated to artistic expressions from around the world in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith.

From Bolivia to Iraq, and from Singapore to the Netherlands, this website showcases various artistic initiatives and activities created by individuals and communities, and the page is constantly being updated too! Continue reading

Creative Circles – A Retreat for Those Striving to Serve Humanity Through Art

I had the privilege of meeting the wonderful Gordon Kerr at the recent Ink of Light Baha’i Writers’ Festival, and he told me about an awesome initiative he’s started in the UK called ‘Creative Circles’.

Creative Circles is a small retreat for those striving to serve humanity through art, and it’s a gathering where artists of all types come together from around the world for a week of masterclasses, workshops, presentations, and the sharing of experiences. It’s also an opportunity for artists to explore their interests and nurture their creative talents in an atmosphere of fellowship and support.

I absolutely love the idea of Creative Circles and I wanted to know more, so here’s what Gordon had to say about this great initiative: Continue reading

Jacqueline Claire Shares About Her Interactive Arts Talk Based on The Seven Valleys

Although we’ve never met, I feel like I’ve gotten to know Jacqueline Claire over the years as we’ve connected over creating Baha’i-inspired content for Baha’i Blog. She wrote about her experiences creating imaginative spaces for elevated conversation, what she has learned in striving to be a spiritually restored and active participant at Nineteen-Day Feasts, and she shared with us some of her artwork and an arts newsletter she sent out every day of the Fast. When I heard about a new initiative she has developed that combines storytelling, art and dynamic conversation, I was eager to find out more. It’s called Awake to Your Life as a Spiritual Journey and I loved what she shared with me:

Baha’i Blog: To begin, could you tell us a little about this initiative?

Sure, I would love to. Awaken to Your Life as a Spiritual Journey is an uplifting and interactive blend of art show, storytelling and dynamic discussion designed to empower attendees to see their life path in a new way. It incorporates a series of seven mystical landscape paintings of mine called The Seven Valleys of Summer. It begins with an icebreaker that immediately creates a warm, friendly environment and starts to connect people with each other, the artwork and passages from The Seven Valleys of Baha’u’llah. I speak a little about the series and how it came about, branching in to larger concepts about life as a spiritual journey. Collectively we then discuss the Valleys, gleaning wisdom from each one.

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Cloud9: A New Podcast Exploring the Baha’i Faith Through the Eyes of Artists

Our friends at Bahaiteachings.org have recently started a podcast called “Cloud9”, which shines a light on the artistry and creative process of artists around the world.

The host of the series is Shadi Toloui-Wallace, the Arts Editor of BahaiTeachings.org and an incredible artist in her own right. We’ve interviewed Shadi before about her music (such as her most recent album, Daughters of the Kingdom), and she was also a guest on the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson. This time we wanted to hear more about Cloud9 and Shadi graciously obliged, so here’s what she shared with us:  Continue reading

Promised Land: A New Album by Nima Majzoubi

A little over a year ago I had the bounty of visiting the Holy Land for a few days, and while there, I had the privilege of meeting a young man named Nima Majzoubi, who was on Baha’i Pilgrimage at the time. Nima and I spoke about music and his desire to produce an album, and now friends, here it is!

Nima’s debut album is titled Promised Land, and I’m happy to share my interview with him about the music and inspiration behind the album: Continue reading

What is the Baha’i Ringstone Symbol?

(Photo courtesy of 9starjewelry.com)

Everything you know is put to the test when you have children. Recently, after singing the prayer that begins “O God! Educate these children…” for what must have been the 1,000th time, my five year old asked me: “What is the Sun of Reality?” She stopped me in my tracks. I really had to think about it, and think about how to explain my thoughts. She also frequently asks about what is referred to as “the ringstone symbol”, a work of calligraphy often found on Baha’i-inspired jewelry, and used by many of our family members. My answers to all these questions need some work, so this prompted me to read up on this significant symbol and, in preparation for the next time she asks about it, I’ve written up seven questions and answers about the ringstone symbol:  Continue reading

Baha’i Blog’s Top 10 Image Posts of the Year!

To celebrate Baha’i Blog’s 7th birthday, we recently posted our 10 most popular articles of the year, and now we thought it would be a good time to share our 10 most popular Image posts of the year as well!

What do we mean by “Image posts”? Well, Baha’i Blog has an Article Section, a Video Section, an Audio Section, and about two years ago we launched our Image Section, where we feature photos, wallpapers, design, art and other imagery from talented Baha’i creators. (You can find out more about our Image Section by reading this article.)

In this top 10 countdown, we list the top 10 posts with the most amount of traffic from Naw-Ruz 2017 to Naw-Ruz 2018 based on Google Analytics. Let’s start with number 10: Continue reading