Élodie Beaulieu, a young Baha’i from Saguenay, who was representing Quebec, is one of the twelve winners of a multidisciplinary art contest on human rights. The Evoke contest was an initiative of TakingItGlobal, an international organization, in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. On 3 July, Élodie was invited to Winnipeg to attend a ceremony during which Queen Elizabeth II dedicated the cornerstone of the future museum. During the ceremony, attended by a number of dignitaries, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the winning concepts were projected on multimedia screens.
Élodie’s painting is intended as a testimony on the fate of her Iranian co-religionists who, because of their beliefs are still deprived of their fundamental rights and suffer various forms of persecution, including imprisonment and execution. ‘‘In this painting’’, explains Élodie, ‘‘I wanted to represent the seven Baha’i leaders who have been in prison since 2008, as a consequence of very serious but baseless accusations. I therefore painted seven doves confined in a cage, but their aura flows through the bars. The Queen with Élodie in the background.Around them, their brothers and sisters all around the world are looking at them intently. The meaning is that it is possible to physically imprison people but that their spirit remains free.’’ The painting contains the text, ‘‘The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens’’ in both French and English. The young nineteen year old artist considers herself lucky to live in a country where she is free to live according to her beliefs and she recognizes that not everybody in the world has the same privilege.