Banafsheh Erfanian is a Toronto based painter, illustrator, and educator. She was born in Tehran, Iran. She graduated from Tehran University of Art with a Bachelor of Graphic Design and holds a master's in Illustration. Banafsheh has illustrated many books and magazines and has written more than 25 articles in art reviews. Her work exhibited in 45 exhibitions around the world such as in Iran, Italy, US, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, and Serbia- has won awards such as RBC Arts Access Awards, Canada, 2019 and 2017, The Award of Excellence of Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition, China, 2016; the 1st Prize of The Second Festival of Text Books Illustration, Iran, 2006; the Encouragement Prize of the 15th Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustration, Japan, 2004, among others. Banafsheh has been short-listed in numerous international illustration catalogs and awarded grants from Toronto Art Council, and City of Toronto.
I am an artist and educator who is always in search of learning new things which gives me the responsibility to give back the knowledge gained to others. I deeply believe that life is the quest for knowledge in a broad sense. Each human being has come to the world to tell their story. self-discovery is a great story to be told which is a journey of searching into the things that offer existential and critical thinking. Everyone can be a story-teller, no matter what they do in their lives. Even chemistry, physics or math formula has beautiful stories to share. I tell my story through art and I am fond of what I do. I do emphasize on imagination as a great tool of expression. The stories I illustrate convey mythical themes and are full of rich imagination. Most of these layered stories for children or adults embody deep philosophical thoughts. The stories that share their message through magical realism or surrealism are very inspirational to me because I see them as a platform through which I illustrate what is beyond reality.