American Qur'an

American Qur an At a time when the United States was involved in two wars against Islamic nations American born artist Sandow Birk wanted to understand the Qur an as it is and always has been intended a universal m

At a time when the United States was involved in two wars against Islamic nations, American born artist Sandow Birk wanted to understand the Qur an as it is, and always has been intended a universal message to humankind But to do so, he first needed to comprehend what Islam s holiest book meant to an American living in the twenty first century Indeed, how has the Qur anAt a time when the United States was involved in two wars against Islamic nations, American born artist Sandow Birk wanted to understand the Qur an as it is, and always has been intended a universal message to humankind But to do so, he first needed to comprehend what Islam s holiest book meant to an American living in the twenty first century Indeed, how has the Qur an related to us, as Americans, in this life, in this time In an attempt to answer his own question, Birk embarked on the most ambitious work of his career Following in the grand traditions of ancient Arabic and Islamic artists, he began hand transcribing the entire Qur an as was done in centuries past abiding by the traditional prescriptions as to the colors of ink, the formatting of the pages, the size of margins and illuminations of page headings and medallions marking verses and passages He then took each sura and set it against a backdrop from everyday American life, one that reflected his renowned skate surf ascetic.Even before the first images of what became known as the American Qur an began appearing in public, in 2009, veteran art critics were concerned about its reception While Birk wasn t illustrating the Qur an itself, the pairing of Islam s holiest text with scenes from contemporary American life seemed adventuresome, given the climate of the times The project, however, was not only welcomed by the Muslim community but also cele

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American Qur'an

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597 Reply to “American Qur'an”

  1. To me, the holiest books are the most human books, and Sandow Birk does a beautiful job of creating an illuminated Qur an that touches on our universal humanity, particularly here in the United States Scenes range across geography, across class and socioeconomic statuses, across cultures and subcultures he gives us a scene of migrant workers on one page, of healthcare workers on another, of an equestrian show on yet another The Katrina inspired pictures wow Like Birk, I am a cultural and spiritu [...]


  2. Birk provides amazing illustrations for Quranic verses, in a style similar to illustrated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, however his illustrations evoke a crumbling modernity in an edgy, punk style While he updates the text for a modern take on Islam, some of the historical content is lost in the process It s a bit like the Good News Bible it is accessible to the modern, liberal, American audience, but may miss some of the holy fire of the original Birk s visions are not always pleasant, as he [...]


  3. Words fail before this mammoth work of art Sandow Birk has handwritten each sura of the Qur an, surrounding the words with picture book like drawings of contemporary America The pictures may provide oblique or direct comments on the suras contents e.g a juxtaposition of muscle cars with the sura entitled Cattle other times, the pictures provide a free associative connection, open to interpretation A few illustrations, like a drawing of the Oklahoma City bombing, genuinely lack a clear connection [...]


  4. This is the most beautiful book I ve ever seen Well, maybe tied for the most beautiful title with a book about monarch butterflies by Ingo Arndt The idea is genius set the Qur an to artwork of modern day life Like the aisles of Walmart I didn t actually read 95% of the text But I did read bits More than I ever would have without the artwork to guide me.


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