Sand art is an artform that uses sand as its medium to create paintings and sculptures. It has various forms such as sand sculpture, sand painting, sand brushing, sand drawing and sand animation. Many forms of sand art have been documented in ancient societies such as Native American settlements and early Buddhist communities in Tibet. However, it has recently come up again as a recognised artform.  

Sand sculptures are 3 dimensional models created by sand. A sandcastle is a basic example of sand sculptures however, the themes of the sculptures are not limited to castles or architecture. The sculptures can be anything one can imagine from realistic statues, archetypes to abstract designs and collages. 

Artists who create massive sand sculptures use a bottomless plastic or wood form into which the sand is poured and mixed with a lot of water. This procedure is repeated until the sand is fully compact. These forms are then mounted above the base, and sculpting starts at the top and works its way down after the top form is removed.

Unlike most art forms, sand sculptures are typically limited to beaches. There are two hubs for sand sculpting in India. The first is Puri beach in Odisha. Sudarsan Pattnaik, India’s most renowned sand sculptor hails from Puri and has made most of his sculptures on Puri beach. A recipient of the Padma Shri, he has opened the Sudarsan Sand Art Institute in Puri to train budding sand artists.

The second location for sand sculptures is the Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum in Karnataka. It was built by M N Gowri, one of India’s female sand artists, and is home to several sand models. 

Sand art has become a popular medium for showcasing socio-political problems, current events and cultural expression. It has gained popularity and recognition globally through sand art festivals and international competitions. Technology and social media too has helped increase the reach and immortalize the art despite the impermanent nature of sand art.




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