Thursday Salute to Originals: Scenes in the Sand

If you have ever been to a sandy beach, you know that sand is ubiquitous, moldable, and gritty. Sand easily takes the shape of items setting on it; with a bit of water, sand can be sculpted into different objects, most commonly sandcastles. The material is also fun for creating various crafts, like a beachy candle or sea shell scenes. You might even use sand for more functional purposes, such as a weight to keep lighter objects grounded. But one woman takes the use of sand to the next level. Ukrainian artist Kseniya Simonova produces evolving and inspiring animations with a special type of sand as her medium.





Back to the Miracle, 2009


Letter, 2009

Simonova creates series of progressive images from a lightbox that is then projected onto a screen. She adds sand to the lightbox and fluidly creates stunning, emotional scenes. Creating the scenes involves plenty of hard work, as she must determine the proper times to loosen or tighten her grip when sprinkling, tossing and pushing the sand to take on the numerous textures, shapes, and depths of her subjects.

She is also the winner of “Ukraine’s Got Talent,” where she first showed the world her live sand art. She brought the audience to tears with her thought provoking scenes recounting the siege of the Ukrainian nation in the Second World War. The video can be viewed in full below.

Simonova does not use just any kind of sand for her artwork. After much trial and error with beach sand, river sand, and several other types, she settled on using an expensive volcanic sand. The volcanic sand grains are better shaped to produce the images depicted in her various scenes.





The Theater I See in my Dreams, 2014


Dream About the Dark Times, 2014

The ultimate motivation behind Simonova’s success was to help a child she knew in need of medical attention. With her success, she was able to set up a charity not only for that specific child but also for other children in need of treatment and funding. Simonova now spends her days in Ukraine creating more sand scenes, videos, and graphics as well as continuing her work with various charities.

We salute Kseniya Simonova this week for her creative repurposing of an abundant material, and for developing detailed scenes that evoke deep thought and emotion.

Sources: Simonova TV, YouTube, Huffington Post, Kseniya Simonova Facebook, Mental Floss