Shokufeh Kavani

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Shokufeh Kavani (Persian: شکوفه کاوانی‎‎, born 1970 in Tehran) is an Iranian 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.

Shokufeh Kavani
Shokufeh Kavani.jpg
Photo from Page 6 of the book "Our Story", Published by SBS, Australia
Born 1970 (age 46–47)
Nationality Iranian, Australian
Known for Painting, Translation


Shokufeh was born in 1970 in Tehran, Iran. She received her education first at the Saadi Primary and Secondary School and then at ( Joan of Arc ) 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, she started painting in reaction to the events that were happening around her. She was only nine when the 1979 Islamic revolution took place. The eight-year Iran-Iraq War had a deep impact on her. While in Iran she carried on painting, she never exhibited her work in Iran.[1]

In 1994, she earned a First Certificate in English from the Cambridge University centre in Tehran. She decided to put her new ability to use by coupling it with her deep knowledge of Persian literature. 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 magnificent black-and-white photos of the Sema, a Whirling Dervishes ceremony which opens a new 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][6]

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

In 1997, Shokufeh migrated to Sydney, Australia and started working and studying again for her bachelor's degree in Nursing from Charles Sturt University.

All this while, she continued painting and in 2003 had her first solo exhibition entitled "Persian Graffiti", promoted by the famous Iranian writer, Shahrnush Parsipur.[7] The exhibition gained a great deal of attention from 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 for the Pride of Australian Medal in 2005 and 2007 by The Daily Telegraph (Australia) newspaper.[1]

Her translation of an article, Dog and the long winter,[8] from a book by Iranian writer Shahrnush Parsipur (Persian: شهرنوش پارسی پور‎‎), was tabled in the Conference on Women and Depression in 2007,[9][10] Sydney, Australia. In 2008, her painting, Dog and the long winter[8] 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[8] was published in 2011 by Nur Publishing company[11] in the United State of America and the author, Mrs. Shahrnush Parsipur,[7] dedicated the book to Shokufeh Kavani.

She 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 .[12] Two paintings have been selected for 100 years of imprisonment, a special exhibition organised in the United States of America in support of political prisoners in Iran.[13]

In 2006, she 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.[14] She also attended the main "Prince Claus Awards" ceremony in 2008 and met the Dutch Royal family and the laureates of the awards.[1][15] 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.[16][17][18][19]

Her work was the official selection for the Australian Day special exhibition at the gallery of " At the vanishing point " in Sydney.[20] 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 )[21] and acclaimed by the public.[2][22][23][24][25]

The Pride of Australian Medal – 2005 – Australia.

In 2010, she 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.[26][27][28]

She currently lives in Sydney, works as a nurse and also completed her post-graduate degree of " Genetic Counselling " from Charles Sturt University,[29] 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.[30][31][32]

The gripping story of her and her generation plus the importance of women's movement in IRAN for achieving democracy, has been featured in page six of " the book of the year 2011 – 2012 " Seven Billion Stories and counting ... published by Special Broadcasting Service, Australia.[1]

She has also been nominated for the Australian of the Year Awards in 2013. This is the fourth time she has been nominated for this prestigious Award, because of her achievements and her contributions to the Australian society since arriving as an Iranian migrant in 1997.

On 07/07/2015, She married Ali Taghvai, the only son of two Iranian icons, famous Iranian film-maker, Mr. Nasser Taghvai and internationally acclaimed, Iranian writer, Mrs. Shahrnush Parsipur.


  • 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][33][4][34]
  • 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][33][23][24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 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 2016-03-20. 
  4. ^ a b c Iran National Library
  5. ^ Montanaro, Marina (2007-07-27). "We All Try To Contribute". بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Sufi News and Sufism World Report. Retrieved 2016-03-20. 
  6. ^ Montanaro, Marina (2007-07-27). "We All Try To Contribute". بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Sufi News and Sufism World Report. Retrieved 2016-03-20. 
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b c
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mental Health Magazine
  11. ^
  12. ^ International Symposium about Iranian Cinema
  13. ^ 100 Years of Imprisonment
  14. ^ Dr. Michael Mel
  15. ^ Asre-nou
  16. ^ Loris Berlin
  17. ^ Fictive Days
  18. ^ Radio Farda
  19. ^ "مدرسه فمینیستی". Feminist School. Retrieved 2016-03-20. 
  20. ^ "Contemporary Art". At The Vanishing Point. Retrieved 2016-03-20. 
  21. ^ Elaheh Dehnavi
  22. ^ Radio Zamaaneh
  23. ^ a b 1000 Ketab
  24. ^ a b Round The Table Writing
  25. ^
  26. ^ NSW Women Electoral Lobby
  27. ^ NSW Parliament
  28. ^ Mosman Daily
  29. ^ Charles Sturt University
  30. ^ Florence Biennale
  31. ^ Mosman Daily dream trip
  32. ^ Interview at Florence Biennale 2011
  33. ^ a b
  34. ^ Sufi News