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Sand art to bring mysterious world of Atlantis to Turkey

ANTALYA (Dailysabah): Preparations for the 16th iteration of the International Sand Sculpture Festival (SANDLAND) have been launched in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya. The festival, which offers mesmerizing sand sculptures to its visitors every year, will open in the middle of May under the theme “The Lost City of Atlantis.”

The ephemeral sand artworks have gained wide popularity in recent years. The sculptors use only water and sand to create their magnificent works of art. While they can work solo, they can also choose to work in groups depending on the size of their works. Their works, which weigh hundreds of tons and measure many meters in height and length, are demolished and removed after the exhibitions. For this reason, the art of sand represents the philosophy that nothing is permanent and everything will disappear one day.

Antalya’s International Sand Sculpture Festival is one of the premier sand sculpture events in the world. The annual festival, organized at Lara Beach attracting many local and foreign visitors, showcases hundreds of giant, dazzling sand sculptures prepared around different themes, such as “World Wonders and Mythology” and “Sea Legends,” every year.

Turkish and foreign sculptors have been working on creating new pieces about Atlantis recently in Antalya for the latest edition. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will host fewer artists at the opening. More artists are expected to join later and create their sand arts in the festival area throughout the year. Visitors will also get the opportunity to see these sculptures being made.

Festival director Cem Karaca told Anadolu Agency (AA) that their festival is one of the largest sand sculpture events in the world with the high number of sculptures it hosts and the amount of sand used in these works.

Noting the festival is open throughout the year, Karaca continued: “The pandemic has affected social life, especially culture and arts events. While many sand festivals were canceled around the world, we will continue our event under strict COVID-19 measures.”

The festival director also provided information about the 16th edition of the festival: “While preserving some of our sculptures, especially an imitation of the Cheops Pyramid, which we have applied to be included in the Guinness World Records, we will also present our new sculptures with the theme of Atlantis to our visitors. With our new sculptures, we will take our visitors on a journey through the mysterious world of the city of Atlantis. We hope that the imaginative, fantastic sculptures will attract visitors of all ages.

Our sculptors started their work in the area as of April 19. We will also do repair work on our sculptures that we have not destroyed in our area. As every year, we want to create a different experience at night with lighting and music suitable for the atmosphere.”

Bulgarian sand sculptor professor Ani Zlateva also stated that she has participated in many sand sculpture events around the world and that many activities have been held in this field in recent years.

Explaining that sand provides the opportunity to make large sculptures in a short time, Zlateva emphasized that their sculptures will be destroyed after a while. Noting that this situation does not upset her as an artist, “The understanding of sand sculpture is based on the fact that everything will disappear one day. I am immortalizing my work in the digital environment by photographing it with my phone.”