Born in Tehran, Iran in 1937, Parviz Tanavoli is the pioneer of modern sculpture in Iran. His art career began in the early 1950's and spans to the present. Upon graduating from the Brera Academy of Milan in 1959, Tanavoli taught sculpture for three years at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He then returned to Iran and assumed the directorship of the sculpture department at the University of Tehran, a position he held for 18 years until 1979, when he retired from his teaching duties. He was also part of the faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Hamline University in St Paul Minnesota. He is now retired, living and working between Vancouver, Canada and Tehran.
Tanavoli was a founder member of Saqqakhaneh, an artistic movement which began in early 1960s in Iran. He has exhibited in numerous museum and art galleries around the world and his works are in the permanent collection of major museums such as the British Museum, UK -- the Museum of Modern Art, New York -- Walker Art Center, Minneapolis -- New York University Art Collection -- Minneapolis Institute of Art -- Ludwig Forum, Aachen -- Museum of Modern Art, Vienna -- Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran and numerous public and private collection. He has been influenced heavily by his country's history and culture and traditions, (he was once cultural advisor to the Queen of Iran) and has always been fascinated with locksmithing.