Approach to a Sacred Place

Approach to a Sacred Place: The Art of Otto Donald Rogers

Approach to a Sacred Place is a magical, exquisitely beautiful film. I can think of very few films like it where not only is an artist’s craft, his métier, his process, his material engagement explored with such poetic clarity but more than that, his soul. The film manages to open facets of Otto Roger’s art that reveal his deep connection to and the source inspiration he finds in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and the Bahá’í Faith. This is no small feat. Rather than reducing his art to an illustration of these ideals, this powerful film brings the viewer in, makes the audience feel as though they are a part of an intimate conversation, that they too have a share in the evocative and redolent spiritual teachings that have such an obvious and direct impact on the spirit of one of Canada’s most treasured abstract painters. I have watched this film several times. From the extraordinary cinematography to the sonorous, plaintive soundtrack by Jack Lenz, this is one of the finest art films on a Canadian artist that I have ever seen. That it also manages to move beyond aesthetics into the realm of faith is a testament to the brilliant vision of its producers. I cannot recommend it in strong enough language.”

Sky Glabush – Associate Professor
Department of Visual Arts (Studio) – Western University
London, Ontario, Canada

“It behoveth the craftsmen of the world at each moment to offer a thousand tokens of gratitude at the Sacred Threshold, and to exert their highest endeavour and diligently pursue their professions so that their efforts may produce that which will manifest the greatest beauty and perfection before the eyes of all men.” (“Selections from the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá”, sec. 127, p. 145)

Otto Donald Rogers is a gem. He is both an incredibly devoted member of the Baha’i Faith as well as one of the finest abstract modernist painters and sculptors. He is regarded by art critics around the world as one of the great Canadian painters. His style, which is modernist in nature, “is an inspired exploration of landscape and abstractionand seems to be  influenced by the outstretching prairies which surrounded his childhood home in Saskatchewan Canada. His work however takes on another, more significant layer of depth, when one realizes that his greatest source of inspiration in creating his work is his Faith in Baha’u’llah.

`Abdu’l-Bahá said…: “All Art is a gift of the Holy Spirit. . . . When the Light of the Sun of Truth inspires the mind of a painter, he produces marvellous pictures. These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God.” (Lady Blomfield, “The Chosen Highway” (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1954), p. 167)

Though his name may be new to many of the Baha’is, his work is known around the world. Numerous articles about him and his work have appeared in the leading publications of the art world. Otto is bold in his interviews and doesn’t shy away from mentioning the Faith. The beauty is that his inclusion of the Faith is organic. As the influence of the Faith is woven inextricably through his work it is also woven through his speech about his process, art, and life in general. Every article which attempts to explore the depths of his work will invariably touch on the Faith as that is central to Otto’s creation.

In one article the interviewer commented that:

“Rogers’s paintings emphasize value contrast over subject matter. . . . He stands apart from much Canadian abstract art, in which colourists working with a high-keyed palette so often held the lion’s share of critical attention. This preoccupation with shifts in values reflects Rogers’s love of light. It is tempting to credit that love merely to the vast, sunlit expanse of the prairies he was raised on. But light has a special meaning for him beyond that. He associates it with knowledge and wisdom, in part because of his Baha’i faith. Baha’ullah, founder of the faith, once said, “My name is light and I come from the province of light,” and for Rogers, “the two great factors in creation [are] unity and light.”” (source:

‘Approach to a Sacred Place’ is an in-depth exploration of his work and process… but more significantly it is his personal testimony to the influence the Faith plays in his every brush stroke. Filmed on location in Haifa Israel (where he was serving at the time) Otto shares his experience, thought process, and creative spark which has led to the creation of such stunning works of modern art. This documentary also features commentary and interviews with thought leaders in the field of art as well as friends who had the pleasure of serving with him. What a joy to be able to catch a glimpse into the work and life of an artist who’s dedication to the Faith has transformed both his personal life and is continuing to influence those around him through his paintings.

Featuring an original score by Jack Lenz, and finally available for the first time in many years, ‘Approach to a Sacred Place’ is a must-have for all lovers of art and inspiration and is a critical film for all Baha’i libraries where it can continue to inspire generations to come. Available on DVD or as an Instant Digital Download.


Approach To A Sacred Place: The Art of Otto Donald Rogers

Click to Get

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *