The Transformative Wisdom of Sand by Diana Rivera

Kseniya Simonova Sand Drawing

Like many of you, I have many fond memories of being at the beach and playing in the sand. Using the tip of my finger, I would practice my penmanship by writing my name. If I got very enthusiastic–which was and is often the case–I would get a long stick and write a  bigger message  with the hope of being seen by a traveler flying on an airplane across the pacific. I always felt like there was something magical about sand…how it could run through my fingers one grain at a time, moisten into a clump and be molded into a sand castle or become the perfect slate for my writing.

I recently came across a new understanding of the power backed in sand with the winner of the Ukraine’s version of “America’s Got Talent.” If you haven’t heard or seen it, let me introduce you to the winner, Kseniya Simonova. This artist has done something I have never seen before. She has taken sand and has transformed it before our eyes in a giant light box. The portrait she has “painted” is then screened for the audience to watch. What we see  is an interpretation of Germany’s  invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII in the most jaw-dropping manner.

Siminova has captured the attention of over 3 million people world-wide. Everyone who has watched this seems to have been touched profoundly  on a heart, soul, intellectual and creative level. Every report I have read with comments from viewers have all demonstrated this incredible affect and catharsis from a brutal time in world history.

For me, I remained baffled. How could sand in a box  illuminated by light cast such an unforgettable interpretation? How did she know how to do that? How did she know that there could be that much wisdom behind sand?

I found an interview that explained some of this:

There were many things that stood out to me from this interview, but it’s how she got to do this work that I want to highlight. It wasn’t just her loving childhood memories growing up near the sea that led her to do this, nor was it this overwhelming desire to commemorate her brethren (although that was there too, let’s not exclude them) . It was a credit collapse that got her doing it. It was totally practical…the family business went down so what is she going to do now to feed her family.

Her art spoke to her in a place of collapse and I am assuming broadened her sense of what is possible in a time where things could appear extremely limited! Similarly it is no coincidence that she was drawn to interpret a time of national challenge and deliver their swan song through the transformative wisdom of sand. Often in times of challenge, crisis or collapse, we reflect on those who have experienced similar or worse for inspiration. This knowledge coupled with yearning, a need for change, a surge of stress and a spark of intuition tapped into that creative flow which we have all viewed with opening hearts.


What is a challenge you are experiencing? It could be just today, this week, month, year… Where in that challenge might you feel comfortable turning it around and seeing the opportunity for your creativity to emerge?

Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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