Sand Animation and Sand Painting

>> Saturday, October 17

Sand painting (the artistic manipulation of sand on back-lit glass often set to music) is a world-wide phenomenon that I was recently introduced to by a co-worker. These featured artists hail from the United States, Netherlands, Hungary, Ukraine, Israel, Mexico, France and Palestine/Iraq. Take a look.


The art began with Caroline Leaf, a student at Harvard University, in 1968. She hung a camera from the ceiling so that it looked down on a lightbox, which she covered with sand collected from a local beach. The light below the glass highlighted the exposed areas, and by manipulating the sand with her fingers Caroline created her first animation, entitled "Sand, or Peter and the Wolf." She later went on to create many animations, including my favorite of hers based on an Eskimo Inuit folk-tale, "The Owl Who Married A Goose."

"The Owl Who Married A Goose" by Caroline Leaf (1974)


A closely related art is sand painting, It is set up the same way as sand animation but is filmed live. Gert van der Vijver is a Dutch mime and sand artist and is best known for his thirteen-episode children's show featuring animals from all over the world. He is currently on tour.

"The Sand Magician: Farm Episode" by Gert van der Vijver (2009)


Ferenc Cakó hails from Budapest, Hungary and has loved film-making and animation all his life. Besides puppets, clay and paper he also employs sand, as you can see in his live performace "Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Summer."

"Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Summer" by Ferenc Cakó


Guess who won top spot in the tv show Ukraine's Got Talent 2009? A sand artist! Kseniya Simonova performed a story telling about teh hardships of life in the USSR during World War II.

An animation on the The Great Patriotic War by Kseniya Simonova (2009)


I couldn't find much info on Ilana Yahav, unfortunately, but she does beautiful work.

"Let's Get Together" by Ilana Yahav

"Maxinji Var" by Ilana Yahav (with Dato Xujadze)


Joe Castillo grew up in an artistic family. He has a bachelor's degree from Florida Bible College and paints scenes from the Bible. His most famous are of the passion and creation stories.

"The Passion" by Joe Castillo

"The Creation" by Joe Castillo


David Myriam has been on tour with his sand art since 2006.

A live sand performance by David Myriam

"Do You Mind?" sand animation by David Myriam (2006)


Ahmad Habash knew he wanted to be an animator since the age of twelve. He obtained degrees in film and animation from the High Institute of Cinema (Eypgt) and Bournemouth University (UK) and is a professional free-lance animator.

"From the Memory of the Sand" by Ahmad Habash (2007)

Wow, thanks for coming on this little world tour with me. And to think I used to be proud of my moated sandcastles at the beach.

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Emily & Caleb

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