Visitors to the Marina Beach on Friday witnessed four artists giving shape to an idea using nothing but piles of sands and buckets of water. Internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik was at work, and as he finished shoving the last layers of coloured sand on the cricket stadium that he had designed with his team, the onlookers could not but help admiring the creation, never mind that the sea waves would soon engulf it. “Everything in life is temporary, just like the sand structure, and that is what makes it more appealing,” Mr. Pattnaik said.

The fingers of the artists worked fast gently piling layers of sand on top of another. “The sand here absorbs more water, but is strong. It takes more effort to get it to stick but makes the structure look more beautiful,” according to Santosh Naik, a member of the team.

“The magic lies in the proportion of water,” said Mr Pattnaik sculpting the sand, before giving shape to a moat. “The challenge is to build the structure close to the waters. The sound of the waves, and the rhythm, with the smell of the sea work in perfect tandem with the art,” he added.

“We have such a beautiful coastline, but sadly patrons for this art are less. Though it is an internationally acclaimed art, we need to find its relevance in the Indian context,” said Mr. Pattnaik. Chennai, he said, is one of the few lucky places which have bigger beaches and hence more sand. “It is also important we keep our beaches clean,” he said, recalling what all substances, including plastic wrappers and water bottles, had to be filtered from the sand to make it ready to be sculpted.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

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