An Artist’s Qur’an for Contemporary America
In the artist's words:
"The composition is based on an engraving/illustration by Gustave Doré from the late 1800s. He did an illustrated version of the bible and this is from his series of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the last day of Jesus' life. I liked the idea that my "Jesus" was some guy from the neighborhood. The scene is from my neighborhood and he's got stickers on his wheelchair, like Club America, a big Mexican soccer club."
In drawings, paintings, sculptures, and ambitious long-term projects, Sandow Birk explores contemporary American life, particularly social and political issues such as inner city violence and prisons. He is best known for American Qu’ran, an ongoing project begun in 2004, for which Birk is hand-copying the Muslim holy book in English, chapter by chapter, and illustrating the surrounding blank spaces with paintings inspired by its words. Birk’s intention is to create a cross-cultural version of the book, making it accessible to Americans and expressing the commonality between different faiths; his illustrations include American everymen, including mall shoppers and golfers. In 2005 Birk also collaborated with Marcus Sanders on the rewriting and illustrating of the entirety of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
American , b. 1962, Detroit, Michigan, based in California