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October 26, 2016

Joyce Frances Devlin: Artist in a “new era of energy and inspiration”
Ottawa artist recognized in Vernon exhibit; reflects on art and spirit in history and her life

Joyce Frances DevlinIn her 85th year the Ottawa area artist Joyce Frances Devlin remains a dynamic figure, radiating energy and spiritual power. Every summer she opens her home gallery in Burritt’s Rapids to the public with an exhibition of her recent works. This June, Joyce also had an exhibition of her work at the Vernon Public Art Gallery in British Columbia entitled “Along the Way.” The Gallery’s permanent collection already contains a number of her works, and with this exhibition she was invited to add to this collection. Her public presentation in June highlighted the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s plans to build a new gallery.
In this talk, Joyce identified the spiritual source of her artistic inspiration. She briefly explained that since humanity’s earliest creative expressions on cave walls, outpourings of art have always followed the appearance of great prophets or “Manifestations of God”, who have brought teachings to guide mankind appropriate to different times. Great periods of art have always followed from the energy released by these great prophets such as Krishna, Abraham, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed. This process has continued today with the teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah,
Devlin painting entitled “Nan Gordon” (1963) from the Vernon Public Art Gallery.who Devlin identified as “the promised One of all the world’s  great religions.” With this “new era of energy and inspiration released by these two great Manifestations of God,” Devlin stated, “we can’t imagine where that is going to take us.”

Joyce affirms that her work has always been influenced by her love of God. At the age of twelve she was reading selections of scripture from  the great religions and she came to her own realization that Christ had returned. One day, some years later, after announcing this conviction in the lunchroom of the Vancouver  School of Art, she was approached by “an old woman attending one of the classes” who quietly invited Joyce to a Vancouver meeting where she heard a talk by Allan Raynor, a member of the Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly. At this talk, she instantly recognized Baha’u’llah and she became a Baha’i in 1952. Her art has developed alongside her identity as a Baha’i since her early student days.

In Ottawa, Joyce’s paintings can be found in the halls of Canada’s Parliament Buildings, where she has done the portraits of a number of senators. Her works are also part of the Ottawa Public Art Gallery’s Firestone collection. She is also represented in other Canadian collections including two University of Alberta public galleries and in the public gallery in Vernon, BC.

Image credits:
Photo of Joyce Devlin from the Ottawa Valley Hum website (see link below)
Devlin painting entitled “Nan Gordon” (1963) from the Vernon Public Art Gallery.

Further reading

“Joyce Frances Devlin: So Much Beauty,” The Hum, 1 June 2015
“Joyce Frances Devlin: Painter and a Painted House”,, 22 April 2015
a 2014 profile on Joyce Frances Devlin on this website

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