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November 27, 2014

Joyce Frances Devlin: An artist’s Professional and Spiritual Journey

Joyce Frances DevlinOn Saturday evening, September 20,  2014, a crowd of about 40 friends from Ottawa and West Quebec gathered at the Baha'i Centre to hear the next installment in the Spiritual Autobiography Series. The featured speaker was the colourful, original and passionate artist Joyce Frances Devlin who lives and works out her studio-home in Burritt’s Rapids.

Devlin discovered in her early childhood that she had been gifted with an exceptional artistic ability. She studied at the Vancouver School of Art between 1950 and 1954 amongst leading figures in the modernist art scene, graduating with honours. She was the recipient of the Emily Carr scholarship and completed post-graduate studies in London, Florence and Rome. Today her works appear in many prestigious private collections, including the Firestone collection which writes that she has developed ”an interest in portraiture, landscape, and symbolic imagery. Devlin created what she called “interior landscapes”: spiritually metaphorical images of  birds and flowers as well as the juxtaposition of abstract collage with landscape imagery.” Her works are also found in many public and corporate collections and she has had selected commission works by the University of Ottawa, McMaster University, The Senate of Canada and the Federal Court Commission. 

The audience listened intently as Devlin recounted how she had been prepared for the acceptance of the Baha'i Faith from her early childhood onward, when she intuitively recognized, through her own understanding, dreams and visions, that all the prophets and all the great religions were one in their essence.  Her preparation for acceptance of the Baha'i Faith was partly due to the influence of her liberal-minded father, who could not tolerate the teachings of the church that all non-Christians would be sent to hell.

In the mid 1950’s, she had the honour of meeting the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, during her pilgrimage to the Baha’i shrines in Haifa. Joyce was impressed by the beauty of Shoghi Effendi’s character--by his humility, his refinement and his great vision and insight. Those gathered were treated to a memorable evening as Joyce recounted, with her usual unabashed frankness, verve and engaging humour, the highlights of her rich professional and spiritual life in British Columbia, Quebec City, England and in the Ottawa Valley.

Heron Rookery 1 Red Maples High Summer

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