You might be thinking of sand being used as a life reviver in animals nearing their end. Well, it might sound like that, but in reality, it’s not about the miraculous properties of sand. No known property of that sort has been known to us since the world began. And it will be for the years to come. However, have you heard of the term “sand art?”
When we used to be kids, going to the beach was not only fun, but it was a very exhilarating experience. Not only were we allowed to splash and play with the waves (of course, with very close parental supervision), we also got the chance to play with sand. Yes, we are natural sand artists since the day we discovered we can mold sand into various shapes. The most popular of them, of course, was sand castle building.
From the looks of it, we’ve got the creativity and the skills needed in order for us to make sand castles. However, only a few of us have dared use this innate skill in us to create sculptures out of sand. Most of the time, when other people got to hear of these plans, they think of this as hilarious and very impractical. But, they were wrong.
In a country teeming with fresh talents, a young female sand sculptor by the name of M.N. Gowri, is proving her worth in the world of sand sculpture. Originally, her family was not in favor of what she plans to do. But, after her father saw how talented his daughter was, he was willing to allow his daughter to take a shot at this very rare craft.
My grandfather worked as a conservator of forests in Karnataka and he spent most of his time observing and photographing animals and his love for animals seems to have rubbed off on me too,” says Gowri, explaining her inclination towards animal figures. Her 60 feet wide, 12 feet high and 20 feet long exhibit in Tiruchi is her widest creation till date, she says.
Gowri says she dabbled a bit with clay modelling and pencil sketching, before discovering sand sculptures online. “The pictures I saw inspired me a great deal and I began looking up YouTube videos to understand it better,” she says recalling how she taught herself the techniques of sand art.
With some struggle, she manages to put into words some of the basic rules in sand art: “The wet sand should be sculpted from top to bottom and the artist must be really careful because you cannot go back to the top to make any corrections; and depending on the picture you visualise the proportions and translate it on to the sand using techniques like compressing (creating mounds) and engraving (creating depth).” While she is confident that she can replicate any picture on sand, she feels the human face is difficult to sculpt. “It has to possess that aesthetic beauty that comes only out of perfect proportioning.” The sand sculptures, she says, are liable to collapsing several times during their creation. “You must never get demotivated. Not even when your piece crumbles after you’re half done,” she laughs. A well-protected piece can stay intact for even up to a year, she says. “Countries like China, Japan and Singapore have sand sculpture museums.”
It’s not usual for us to see animals sculpted on sand, isn’t it? It’s just amazing to note that a simple material like sand could be used to depict the wildlife that should be protected by the stewards of nature. In short, we should not take for granted ordinary materials around us. Make use of what is available and create something that would serve as a reminder of our duty.