e*lix*ir comes into being to showcase the work of artists who find inspiration in the Bahá’í vision and to foster an aesthetic whose key ingredient is the conviction that the mission of art is to inspire, transform, and uplift individuals and communities.
Sandra Lynn Hutchison is the author of two books: Chinese Brushstrokes (Turnstone Press, 1996), a collection of stories about China in the prelude to and aftermath of the Tiananmen Uprising, and The Art of Nesting (GR Books, 2008), a book of poetry. Her stories have been anthologized in a variety of publications, including Chinese Ink, Western Pen: The Oxford Anthology of Stories About China (Oxford U. Press, 2000). She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in English literature and has been the recipient of various academic and literary awards, including a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship, an Emily Dickinson Poetry Prize from Universities West Press and a Jane Kenyon Poetry Scholarship from Bennington College, where she did work towards an MFA in Poetry. She lives and teaches in Orono, Maine, where she is working on a memoir and a novel.
J. Michael Kafes is a financial analyst at Bloomberg. He has had volunteer experience for several non-profit organizations. He edited a book of first-hand experiences of Bahá’ís at the 1992 Bahá’í World Congress. He holds an M.B.A. from Lehigh University as well as a B.S. in Finance and a minor in American Literature from Lehigh. He lives in Carmel, New York, U.S.A., with his wife and son. In his spare time, he is working on preserving and expanding a body of work developed by Marian Crist Lippitt called “The Science of Reality.”
Shira Hollinger is studying Political Science at the University of Maine. She has a strong interest in Latin America and the Middle East. She has been involved in a wide range of social activism projects, mostly focusing on the environment and the homeless, receiving recognition from President Obama for her work with the latter. Shira published various poems and book reviews, and was editor of THINK magazine. Her photos were featured in an exhibit of the Penobscot River Restoration Project.
Bev Rennie currently lives in Hastings, New Zealand. Her passion for photography has been at the forefront of her life since childhood. For 13 years, she worked in the Audio Visual Department of the Bahá’í World Center in Haifa, Israel. While living in Israel, she pursued her interest in photography, and she now continues her quest to explore fresh ways of seeing in New Zealand. She is particularly interested in examining natural phenomena that are often overlooked in daily life. Her goal as an artist is to unveil what is holy in the creation by documenting the many small miracles that take place everyday in the natural world. Her photos have been used in numerous Bahá’í publications, and various commercial magazines.
Allison Grover Khoury has been a life-long lover of children’s literature. She grew up in India and pursued studies for a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies at the School for International Training in Vermont. She has worked as a software technical consultant, an ESL teacher, a book reviewer, and an editor, but has most enjoyed her work in libraries and bookstores. She is a founding member of Spirit of Children and maintains a children’s literature review blog. Allison offers workshops on picture books and runs a special reading program at her son’s school, centered on books that have received the annual Caldecott medal for illustration. She lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles.
Shahin Mowzoon has translated the works of T.S. Eliot and W.B. Yeats into Persian and the works of Rumi into English. One of his translations of Rumi was chosen as a finalist for the Evansville University Barnstone Translation Prize. Shahin has also been published in engineering and scientific journals and translated songs for performing artists. He has worked as adjunct faculty and as a data scientist and researcher whose work spans a variety of disciplines.
Solmaz Haghighat loves art, especially Illustration. She studied graphic design in high school, but could not continue her studies in this field because, as a Bahá’í, she was barred from attending university in Iran. Now she studies English at the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education.
Joyce Litoff is a life-long resident of Chicago, and a world citizen at heart. She is a communications professional who has won multiple awards for her writing, podcasting, and video work. Joyce sees storytelling as central to all of these efforts and has recently delved into memoir and live-stage storytelling. Joyce works in the Office of Communications at the US Bahá’í National Center. The office is responsible for editing the content of US public website and electronic newsletter, engagement in social media networks, and media relations related to coverage of the Bahá’í Faith in the news. Joyce has worked in a variety of publishing, media production, and public relations positions in the course of her career, both in corporations and in the not-for-profit sector. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois.