Sand Art Takes A New Road

AT the mention of ‘performing arts’, all that comes to our little minds is the small stage performances that we have been witnessing, ranging from play, musical theatre, dances, instrumentals, orchestra, etc. Did you know that the Performing Arts have welcomed a new member into their ménage?

When I was told about the interview with Loong Bee, the sand artiste, I wasn‘t sure if his forté is producing pictures by sprinkling sand on glued sheets or doing art on the sand by the beach. Frankly, I was dumbfounded when I discerned that he does neither but a much more impressive and astounding work of art.

The Pandamaran-born sand artiste creates an art that silently delivers a story on a given theme. He says, “I work best with music playing in the background. It can be any music but preferably one that relates with the theme.”

When asked about his inspiration for a passion so bizarre in Malaysia, he smilingly recalled an event that happened not very long ago. It was in 2003, when Malaysia gave birth to its first sand artiste. Loong Bee loves watching reality talent shows on television and one day, he stumbled upon a performance in which a Chinese sand art master, Su Dabao, used sand to create graphics and images. Su is the Top Sand Artistes of China, being the pioneer of this form of art in China.

Loong Bee says that the uniqueness of the art fascinated him and it still does. When compared to other art forms, what is special about sand art is that it is mobile; it constantly moves while changing from one scene to another in a matter of seconds. Sand art is basically, the live version of animation and that, is because the artiste do not require complicated tools to work with but just a set of light box with a glass top, some sand and very brilliant fingers. According to Loong, the type of sand used is not important so both natural beach sand or the artificial could be used and they can be reused multiple times over.

“There’s no special technique to this art, it just comes with a lot of practice, and preparation is a very essential stage to performing sand art,” says the sand artiste who has been doing this for the past five years.

With his progress over the years, he’s overwhelmed with demands for performances. The number of people who show interest in this particular artwork have also significantly increased, and he has gotten more and more requests for classes and courses on sand art. Unfortunately, juggling sand art and hairdressing fulltime doesn’t allow him to do so but he definitely hopes to cater for burgeoning talents and passion in the future.

He is undoubtedly gifted, and is blessed to have taken up this relatively new art form. He said that he has never faced any disheartening challenges so far, and his family and friends have been supportive of his passion.

His most memorable moment throughout the journey was his first public performance for the HELP college community at their Mid-Autumn Festival celebration. He was given a theme a month ahead, and after discussing with the organisers, summarising the details and identifying the key scenes for his performances, he took about a week to practice the outlook of his imagination. The performance must only be between five to ten minutes in length because it becomes boring if it is any longer. With his experience he just needed a couple of days to practice his ideas before a performance.

For the future, he wishes to create more sand art for charity shows and he encourages youngsters to be bold enough to enter this field and be creative enough to succeed.

The highlight of the day was Loong Bee‘s demonstration of sand art on the theme of ‘MERDEKA 2015’ for Niexter. To watch his slender fingers gracefully dancing on the sand, creating images of the national flower, Petronas Twin Towers, Penang Bridge and finishing off by showing the multiracial community living in peace and harmony, was a sight to behold.

By Jivashini M. Paramasivam, 18, Selangor

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