Sandow Birk’s American Qu’ran

Currently on exhibit at Koplin Del Rio Gallery in Beverly Hills through Oct 30.
Art slant review here.
From that starting point, Sandow Birk has spent the past four years creating a personal Qur’an. Following the traditions of ancient Arabic and Islamic manuscripts, the artist has been hand-transcribing the entire English-translated text of the Qur’an as was done in centuries past – following traditional guidelines as to the colors of inks, the formatting of the pages, the size of margins and the illuminations of page headings and medallions marking verses and passages. His hand-lettered calligraphy uses an American tradition of writing – that of the street letters of urban graffiti that he finds around his Los Angeles neighborhood. Once each chapter is transcribed, he then seeks to illuminate the text and its message with scenes from contemporary American life – investigating how the message relates to our lives in the United States today. Adapting the techniques and stylistic devices of Arabic and Persian painting and albums, his works blend the past with the present, the East with the West, creating an “American Qur’an”. —text courtesy of Koplin del Rio Gallery

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