Past Exhibitions

Sandow Birk: American Qur'an

Exhibition Through February 28, 2016


For more than twenty years, southern California painter Sandow Birk (b. 1962) has developed a specialty of applying the vision and scope of history painting to the examination of issues that possess contemporary relevance. Recently, Birk has spent nine years completing his most ambitious project to date, American Qur’an. In this series, he hand-transcribes and illustrates every verse of the  holy book of Islam. Inspired by a intensive travel in the Islamic regions of the world and informed by extensive research in collections of Islamic art and manuscripts, Birk’s undertaking emerges from his conviction that the Qur’an remains a text that was originally intended as a universal message to all humankind. His challenge has been to illustrate it in a manner that would emphasize how the Qur’an might be more meaningful to Western audiences. More than 300 individual gouache paintings are being presented, with each containing text rendered in script based on Los Angeles graffiti.


See review in Huffington Post here.

Exhibition Credits


Sandow Birk: American Qur’an is organized by the Orange County Museum of Art.

Image: Sandow Birk, American Qur’an, Sura 57 A, 2006; ink and gouache on paper; courtesy of Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco.