Tag Archives Baha’i art

5 Reasons the Arts Matter: An Artist’s Perspective

One day a young man was composing jazz tunes on a rented piano in his apartment in Boston when the doorbell rang. He opened the door to find himself face-to-face with his blue-eyed neighbour, a classically trained singer who had heard his music through the floor and needed someone to accompany her while she rehearsed. Two years later this singer gave birth to me at home, accompanied by jazz played my father and the doctor, who was (naturally) also a musician.

Our house was always full of live music and artwork from all over the world. The arts were a way of life. Creating and appreciating art was how we related to each other, and how we built community. So the first time someone asked me what I saw as the purpose of the arts I was thrown off guard. They seem as essential as food and water. There are an endless number of ways that the arts enrich our lives and shape our reality. Here are five that I keep coming back to: Continue reading

Celebrating 10 Years of Baha’i Blog!

Baha’i Blog is super excited to share that we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary since we launched in Naw-Ruz 2011! (Woohoo!!!)

Over the last 10 years, we’ve been passionately exploring how the Revelation of Baha’u’llah translates into different avenues of media by creating a plethora of Baha’i-inspired content, which we hoped will serve the Baha’i community, and also help raise the profile of the Baha’i Faith online. We hope you’ve enjoyed Baha’i Blog so far, and more importantly, we hope that our work has contributed to your journey and exploration of the wonderful teachings of the Baha’i Faith.

Here’s a brief outline of what Baha’i Blog is all about and some examples of our projects over the last decade: Continue reading

6 New Prayer Books for Babies and Toddlers Illustrated by Elaheh Bos

I first spotted a couple of Baha’i prayer books for babies and toddlers a few years ago. Their cardboard pages (which make them commonly known as “board books”) are perfect for hands still learning how to turn pages. I wasn’t a mother at the time, but I was eager to purchase them for babies I knew because it was so exciting to see the Baha’i Writings in a format accessible for the very young. Mothers often pray to the babies in their wombs, and sing them prayers from their earliest hours, so it was wonderful to see books safe and strong for really little hands to hold. The first board books I came across were illustrated by Elaheh Bos and I’m really excited that she’s been making more! A Tiny Seed, Rose of Love, I am a Child, Like Unto a Pearl, This Fresh Plant and With Loving Kindness are six newly available board books of prayers and devotions for young children published by Bellwood Press. Three are exquisitely illustrated with plasticine art and three feature color pencil illustrations. Elaheh agreed to tell us a little bit about them and I’m so glad she did. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading

Noble Beings: Jacqueline Claire’s Illustrated Book of Baha’i Quotations

Playful, joyful, energetic, soulful: these are words that come to mind when describing Jacqueline Claire’s illustrations. (If you’d like see some examples of her artwork you can find it here, or you can learn about her podcast here on Baha’i Blog.)

Jacqueline has most recently created a book that illustrates passages and quotations from the Baha’i Writings and it’s called Noble Beings. Although aimed at a younger audience, I think readers of all ages will delight in her book and find it thoughtful and enriching. Noble Beings is only available for purchase between November 9th and December 8th (you can find copies here) and in the following interview, Jacqueline tells us all about her latest project:

Baha’i Blog: What inspired this project?

Love! On so many levels. Love for the Baha’i Writings. Love for teaching and sharing the Baha’i Faith in a way that connects with people’s hearts. Love for children. Love for the vision of a just, ethical and peaceful world.

I first had the idea in 2017 while shopping for an Ayyam-i-Ha gift for a spiritual and precocious six-year-old. I wanted to give something joyful and relatable that would help nurture a Baha’i identity. I really struggled to find anything that hit the perfect note as far as the aesthetics and spirit of buoyancy and joy I was looking for, so I vowed to eventually make it myself! (In the short run, I illustrated “Blessed is the Spot” for the Ayyam-i-Ha gift). Fast forward to 2020, after working on the book piecemeal over the years,  I finally realized that not only was quarantine the ideal time to hunker down and complete my book! But I think we all became aware this year that our lives can change in an instant, and anything really important to us we have to commit to and DO. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

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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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