Media only: Deborah Galyan 202.633.0504; Elizabeth Bridgforth (202) 633-0521

WHAT: Street painting in celebration of “Falnama: The Book of Omens,” opening this month at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

WHEN: Oct. 20 – 25, 2009 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WHERE: Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art 12th and Jefferson Drive S.W.

WHO: Michael Kirby, mural artist, Murals of Baltimore LLC

Mural artist Michael Kirby will recreate an image from the exhibition “Falnama: The Book of Omens,” on view in the Sackler Gallery Oct. 24 – Jan. 24, 2010.

Kirby will use a technique called ephemeral mural painting, also known as street painting. Over a period of five days, using mediums such as pastels, lacquers and tempera, Kirby will recreate an image of the sun found in a Falnama created in the 1580s. The original painting is on loan from Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, and can be seen in the exhibition.

The exhibition includes three unusual, illustrated manuscripts that were once used by sultans and shahs in Iran and Turkey to explore the unknown through the practice of divination. This is the first exhibition of these rare manuscripts, which are notable for their monumental size, brilliantly painted compositions and diverse subject matter.

The Freer and Sackler galleries will host a live video stream of Kirby at work throughout the week. Interviews with the artist and curator will be available on Ustream. Visit and for information on the interview schedule.

Above: Sun from a Falnama, Probably Iran, Safavid period, 1580s; opaque watercolor and gold on paper; Topkapi Palace