I take it that art's purpose is to illuminate the world in a new way, provoke a reaction, and somehow alter the consciousness of the observer. Sand art definitely succeeds this purpose. The first time I saw a demonstration of this particular art, I was awed. Its delicate yet intricate execution makes the granular stuff vocal enough to stir a thinking soul. Sand drawing is a Ni-Vanuatu artistic and ritual tradition and practice recognized by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. The name sand art succinctly explains the medium but fails to articulate the inspirational wonder that it manages to inspire. It is always in constant motion, evolving every second, sand art involves participation as the observer watches live performance art created before them. All of the curves, circles, lines and loops are all connected to form a design that tells a story. It is important to complete the design fluidly and continuously, stopping in the middle is considered an imperfection in the drawing. Often a grid is drawn in the sand and then a design is created with the grid as a framework. Sometimes the grid is comprised of straight lines and other times it is created from a pattern of dots. Many of the designs are completed in a continuous line that ends where it begins. Others are composed of a group of symmetrically arranged lines. These geometrical figures were considered one of the most significant cultural findings by Bernard Deacon, an English Anthropologist. In a letter to his fellow Anthropologist he wrote: “I’ve certainly never seen or heard anything like it.” He came across complex designs drawn in the sand and in the dust of volcanic ash plains. He decided to record the drawings and their meanings as he traveled through Malekula, Ambae, Ambrym, Paama, Pentecost, Maewo, Epi, and the Banks Islands. Some of these drawings describe the strength...
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