The magic of colors and the mystic world of fantasy and dreams made me an illustrator of children’s books; a potent force that I explore since my childhood that is still with me. When I was 8 or 9 years old, most of time I was painting and making crafts. One of my interests was creating puppets. Every day I made up a story and in the morning at school, before class started, I performed a play to my classmates. Years later, my passion for colors, lines and shapes made me choose the Art University of Teheran and try new approaches to creation and art expression. After graduation I worked with art direction and graphic design for books and magazines.
In 2008 I decided to leave Iran to find new horizons. From this year onwards I stopped my graphic work and started writing and illustrating my stories. I had my first published book, La piccola Pittrice, by an Italian publisher in 2010. This was the beginning of my professional career abroad. My next book was an Iranian story, King Bahram, published in Frence in 2009. During my experience in Italy, I worked on many books with publishers from Italy, France, United Arabic Emirates, South Africa, Lebanon and Brazil. It was a rich experience for me, when I could meet illustrators from different countries, participate in several Illustration Exhibitions, especially at the Bologna Children´s Book Fair, attend various programs, meetings and round tables, when I also could publish new books every year.
In 2015, at the invitation of Editora Positivo, a Brazilian publisher, I went to Brazil for a workshop in São Paulo and to launch the book Pe and the wide world. At the end of 2015 I moved to Brazil, to a southern city called Curitiba. It is a beautiful place, pleasant in every season, full of trees, colourful flowers and an unbelievable number of birds filling the space with their songs. This is where I live today, creating my projects for children, planning my next travels, enjoying a good coffee in the afternoons. I have a great taste for travel, I believe that visiting new countries influences my art and matures my worldview, although I always try to keep my cultural roots, the Persian heritage that I bring in my blood.
– Fereshteh Najafi
King of the Sands I & II
1001 Night Stories
Le roi Bahram
un paio di pantofole
Fereshteh Najafi, an Iranian illustrator, attained a Bachelor of Graphic Design and Master in Illustration at the Azad Art University of Tehran. In 2008, she immigrated to Genova, Italy, where she directed her creative work through illustration for children’s books. In recent years Fereshteh has worked both on illustration and giving workshops in Italy, Brazil and United Arab Emirates.
She began exhibiting internationally in 2006 and since then has been selected at over 20 international illustration exhibitions, including the prestigious Biennial of Illustration of Bratislava, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators Exhibition, the “Le Immagini della Fantasia” in Sarmede, Italy, the Nami Concours in South Korea and in countries such as United Arab Emirates, Germany, Serbia, South Africa, Australia, Japan and India. Najafi has illustrated more than 25 titles, in Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, France, South Africa and Italy. Najafi is admired for her strong and unique visual vocabulary of heavily textured brushwork and a distinctive and confident use of colour. Since 2015 she lives in Brazil.