Banafsheh Erfanian is an award-winning Toronto based painter, illustrator, and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Graphic Design and a Master’s in Illustration. Banafsheh has illustrated many books and magazines and her work has been short-listed in numerous international illustration catalogs and exhibited in Iran, Italy, the US, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, and Serbia. She has won awards such as RBC Arts Access Fund, 2019 and 2017, RBC Space Award, 2019, The Award of Excellence of Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition, China, 2016, the Encouragement Prize of the 15th Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustration, Japan, 2004, among others.
Thoughts About Art and Community
Considering the fact that Canada is a multicultural country, it embraces cultural and ethnic diversity which is one of the beauties and privileges of being a Canadian. As Culture has a very intense and direct impact on art, there has been always a mutual dialogue between art and culture. Bringing up Iranian art and culture will help my community to have a platform of sharing their art and culture with their fellow countries and could be a meaningful example for my artist colleagues to develop their path as an artist. My illustration and teaching activities would benefit kids with skills to develop their creativity and self-confidence and to grow their artistic potentials and let them know about the literature through illustration which is a powerful educational tool.
As a children's book illustrator, and for the love I feel for children I am eagerly into bringing up the joy of life that might have been hidden by the busyness of today's business world. By using the strong language of the picture, I illustrate how genuine it means to be a kid and feel the world from a kid's perspective. As an adult and more effectively as an illustrator, I believe it is my mission to picture the world for our children a beautiful and safe place to live. Not that I ignore the realities but I mean to arm our kids with hope, self-confidence, and the art of coping with all the challenges of the modernized world. Since I am an art instructor, I can also teach children how to grow their developing skills through creative painting. Creativity does not only come with art. No matter what your career is. If you are creative you are able to find better and new solutions and turn challenges into a flourishing result at the end. Moreover, I can share my experience as an illustrator by offering illustration workshops and classes for kids, students, and adults. My focus on illustration and painting has been on cultural issues with an interpretive approach to fables, parables, or even modern narratives. For instance, I approach ancient stories of Persian literature as Shahnameh, The Epics of Iranian Kings, or verses of Iranian poets, such as Hafiz which is a great guide to Persian old philosophy and mysticism.