Shokufeh Kavani

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Shokufeh Kavani
Shokufeh Kavani.jpg
Photo from Page 6 of the book "Our Story", Published by SBS, Australia
Born1970 (age 50–51)
NationalityIranian, Australian
Known forPainting, Translation

Shokufeh Kavani (Persian: شکوفه کاوانی‎; born 1970 in Tehran) is an Iranian-Australian contemporary painter, translator, and artist currently living in Sydney. She is primarily known as a translator and as an abstract painter of the post–Islamic society of Iran. She is fluent in English in addition to her native language Persian.


Shokufeh was born in 1970 in Tehran. She received her education first at the Saadi Primary and Secondary School and then at Jeanne D'Arc High School. She went on to the Bandar-Abbas medical university for a bachelor's degree in Nursing before migrating to Australia as a professional nurse.[citation needed]

Life and career[edit]

At age 19, Kavani started painting in reaction to the events that were happening around her. She was only nine when the 1979 Iranian Revolution took place. The eight-year Iran-Iraq War had a deep impact on her. While in Iran she carried on painting, but never exhibited her work in Iran.[1]

In 1994, Kavani earned a First Certificate in English from the Cambridge University centre in Tehran. She started translating "The Whirling Dervishes" (Persian: مولانا و چرخ درویشان‎) by Ira (Shems) Friedlander, a Best Seller published in 2004 (1382) by Zaryab Publishers.[1][2][3][4][5] The book is about the whirling dervishes and the ceremonies with which they are involved. The story of Mevlana Jallaledin-Balkhi known as Rumi in the western world is embedded in the narrative. The book has black-and-white photos of the Sema, a Whirling Dervishes ceremony which opens a window to the mysterious and esoteric world of the Dervishes. The majority of the photographs were taken by Ira (Shems) Friedlander. The rest are by Nazih Ozal. The new approach to the history of the Mevlevieh sect and their music over the last 100 years makes the book unique.[1][2][4][5]

As "Edna Ryan" award winner – 2010 – Australia.

In 1997, Kavani migrated to Sydney, Australia and started working and studying again for her bachelor's degree in Nursing from Charles Sturt University. She also continued painting and in 2003 had her first solo exhibition, "Persian Graffiti", promoted by the Iranian writer, Shahrnush Parsipur.[6] The exhibition gained a great deal of attention in the Australian media.[1] After the 2005 Cronulla riots, she joined the art group " TAH, Art for Humanity " and participated in twelve group exhibitions all over Australia to raise awareness against racism.[1] Some sale proceeds of the group went to an Afghan Charity, Mahboba's Promise,[1] to support Afghan widows and orphans. These humanitarian efforts earned her nominations for the "Australian of the Year Award in 2005, 2007, 2008 and also in 2013, and for the Pride of Australian Medal in 2005 and 2007 by The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) newspaper.[1]

Kavani's translation of an article, Dog and the long winter,[7] from a book by Shahrnush Parsipur (Persian: شهرنوش پارسی پور‎), was tabled in the Conference on Women and Depression in 2007 held in Sydney.[8][9] In 2008, her painting, Dog and the long winter[7] was chosen for a poster for the Women's Mental Health International Conference in Melbourne, Australia.[1] The English version of the book Dog and the long winter[7] was published in 2011 by Nur Publishing company in America[10] and the author, Shahrnush Parsipur, dedicated the book to Shokufeh Kavani.[6]

Kavani continues to exhibit her paintings regularly. Two of her paintings featured among the official final selections in the My Favourite Movie Moments exhibition, the 2006 Sydney Film Festival and also her paper appeared in First International Symposium about Iranian Cinema.[11] Two paintings have been selected for 100 years of imprisonment, an exhibition organised in the United States in support of political prisoners in Iran.[12]

In 2006, Kavani was selected to present "Prince Claus Awards" to Dr. Michael Mel in Papua New Guinea – University of Goroka alongside the Dutch Ambassador H.E.Mr. Niek van Zutphen.[13] She also attended the main "Prince Claus Awards" ceremony in 2008 and met the Dutch Royal family and the laureates of the awards.[1][14] She has also participated in Fictive Days Sixten Kai Nielsen, a project organised by for the Berlin Festival in 2008, wherein she played the role of Queen Elizabeth I of England along with seven others playing famous characters in the history of cinema.[15][16][17][18]

Kavani work was the official selection for the Australian Day special exhibition at the gallery of " At the vanishing point " in Sydney.[19] In 2009, her translation of Anita Heiss's "Who am I? The Diary of Mary Talence" was published in Tehran by Morvarid Publishers (Persian: انتشارات مروارید‎). This has been positively reviewed in the press by Shahrnush Parsipur (Persian: شهرنوش پارسی پور‎), Asadollah Amraee (Persian: اسدالله امرایی‎) and Elaheh Dehnavi ( Persian: الهه دهنوی‎ )[20] and acclaimed by the public.[2][21][22][23][24]

In 2010, Kavani became the first Iranian-born Australian recipient of the Edna Ryan Awards in the category of Art, bestowed by the New South Wales Women's Electoral Lobby to women who have been pioneers in different walks of life.[25][26]

Kavani currently lives in Sydney, works as a nurse and also completed her post-graduate degree of " Genetic Counselling " from Charles Sturt University,[27] paints and intends to take participate in more exhibitions and works on translating another book. Three of her paintings appeared in 2011 Florence Biennale, Italy.[28][29][30]

In July 2015, she married Ali Taghvai, the only son of the Iranian film-maker, Nasser Taghvai and the Iranian writer, Shahrnush Parsipur. In 2019, they published a book of poetry by the name of " on the boat of life " by Mehri Publication house, London, England which contains Ali Taghvai's poems and Shokufeh Kavani's drawings for his poems.

Also in 2019, she took a very active part as the cultural adviser to the Australian author, Clare Atkins in the process of writing Clare's second book Between Us which became the book of the year 2019 and also nominated for so many awards including the prestigious Australian Prime Minister Literary awards.[31]

Further reading[edit]

  • Friedlander, Ira (Shems) 2004, " Whirling Dervishes: being an account of the Sufi order known as the Mevlevis and its founder, the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu'Ddin Rumi" (Persian: مولانا و چرخ درویشان‎), Shokufeh Kavani (translated), Zaryab Publishers (Persian: انتشارات زریاب‎), Tehran, ISBN 964-7097-27-1[2][32][4][33]
  • Heiss, Anita 2009, "Who am I? The Diary of Mary Talence" (Persian: من کیستم ؟‎), Shokufeh Kavani (translated), Morvarid Publishers (Persian: انتشارات مروارید‎), Tehran, ISBN 978-964-191-006-0[2][32][22][23]
  • Parsipur, Shahrnush 2018, " Dog and the long winter" (Persian: سگ و زمستان بلند‎), Shokufeh Kavani (translated), Mehri Publication House (Persian: انتشارات مهری‎), London, ISBN 978-1-9993390-0-5
  • Taghvai, Ali & Kavani, Shokufeh 2019, " On the Boat of Life " (Persian: سواربرقایق حیات), Shokufeh Kavani ( Illustrated ), Mehri Publication House (Persian: انتشارات مهری), London, ISBN 978-1-9160778-6-7


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i National Australian Visual Arts Archived 14 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d e Good Reads
  3. ^ Mirbabaie, Seyyed Mostafa. "Persian book :: آي کتاب :: SMM CMS 1.0.2". i ketab. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Iran National Library Archived 3 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Montanaro, Marina (27 July 2007). "We All Try To Contribute". بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Sufi News and Sufism World Report. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b c "EBooks of Shahrnush Parsipur".
  8. ^
  9. ^ Mental Health Magazine Archived 16 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^
  11. ^ International Symposium about Iranian Cinema
  12. ^ 100 Years of Imprisonment
  13. ^ Dr. Michael Mel
  14. ^ Asre-nou
  15. ^ Loris Berlin Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Fictive Days
  17. ^ Radio Farda
  18. ^ "مدرسه فمینیستی". Feminist School. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  19. ^ "Contemporary Art". At The Vanishing Point. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  20. ^ Elaheh Dehnavi
  21. ^ Radio Zamaaneh
  22. ^ a b 1000 Ketab
  23. ^ a b Round The Table Writing
  24. ^
  25. ^ NSW Parliament
  26. ^ Mosman Daily
  27. ^ Charles Sturt University
  28. ^ Florence Biennale Archived 30 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Mosman Daily dream trip
  30. ^ Interview at Florence Biennale 2011
  31. ^ Clare Atkins
  32. ^ a b
  33. ^ Sufi News