Sandow Birk was featured on KQED’s Spark when he was making paintings about an imagined war between Northern and Southern California. He was also making a film based on Dante’s Inferno that starred handmade puppets. Since making the movie, Birk has been busy in his studio, working with different mediums and themes to create his highly-charged works, which sometimes comment on politicized events we hear about in the news such as the war in Iraq.
Birk’s most recent project, American Qur’an, is a hand-transcribed and illustrated version of the Qur’an. After spending years surfing in Islamic countries, Birk wondered about the contents of the Qur’an, and so he began reading it, then later transcribing it along with his own visual interpretations of the text. Hear more about the project in the artist’s own words in our new video, In the Gallery With Sandow Birk. Watch it with your students and follow-up with activities in our educator guide.
And don’t forget to watch Sandow Birk’s Spark video from 2006 on the Spark site where you’ll find an additional educator guide that will help you and your students further explore the work of this artist.