As the International Sand Art Festival 2017 kicked off on December 1 at Konark, the golden beach of Chandrabhaga has come alive with splendid sand sculptures by sand artists from all over the world.
The festival, which was initiated in 2011, successfully completes its seventh edition this year. It is by far, the best platform for emerging sand artists from all over the world to showcase their talent and sculpting skills, besides helping them to experience a unique artistic and cultural exchange.
While the sand sculptures have been attracting hordes of visitors and spectators every day since the inauguration of the fest, the artists are ensuring to make their art interesting by depicting various themes on pertinent world issues and events through the sculptures.
This year, eight countries have participated in the festival including Singapore, Sri Lanka, Russia, Spain, Germany and Ghana. Every participating country has one artist representing among the 70 participants, including 18 women artists. India has more than five representatives coming from different states across the country. Odisha, being the host state, has many sand artists taking part in the fest.
The participating artists compete against each other based on the themes assigned to them on each day of the fest. Their works are adjudged by three judges who are appointed every day by the State Government. These judges hail from different fields of artistic expertise.
A participating artist from Odisha, Subala Maharana said, “This is a praise worthy step taken by the state government to promote our art and culture. It has not only increased the interest of the local public in this art, but is also generating revenues for the government through tourism as many foreign tourists are scheduled to visit Odisha for this festival.”
“There is tremendous response from the visitors and this interest should be tapped by the state government to promote sand art on other beaches of the state,” added Maharana.
Similarly, another artist from Singapore, Tanjoo Heng who appeared delighted to be a part of this grand festival shared, “We are happy that this kind of festival is initiated by the Odisha government. For an artist like me, it is a great opportunity to present my skills on this platform and simultaneously learn more about the art from the other artists.Personally, this is a memorable experience for me, as I could see beautiful places like the Konark Sun Temple, the Chandrabhaga sea beach and other nearby places. The people here are also humble and very affectionate.”
Meanwhile, talking to MCL about the arrangements of the event, Dr. Sunil Pattanaik, Nodal Officer for Sand Art and Assistant Director of Dept. Of Tourism, said, “The response of the public has been overwhelming ever since the start of the festival. We are getting tremendous public response every day. With the average recorded footfall of a minimum of 1.5 lakh visitors, the number of visitors has been growing everyday.”
“We have utilised all kinds of mediums for promotion of this festival. Though there are certain rules and regulations that we have to adhere to, we had planned it in a way so that we can promote the event throughout the year to arouse the interest of the public,” he informed.