We were going to Marina Mall when we noticed that something new was cooking at the Cornice. There’s a lot of activities happening in the open area near the beach, but we just really had to drop by because a sand sculpture showcase in Abu Dhabi was a first as I can recall.
The sand sculpture festival was organized by Emirates Heritage Club. Last weekend, they have started bringing in 300 tonnes of sand which were sourced from the desert outside Al Ain (the so called oasis of Abu Dhabi). It is claimed to be softer and cleaner. Nine sculptors who came from Syria, UAE, Brazil, Holland, Australia, South Africa, Egypt and Latvia participated in the festival. We observed that some of them started touching the sand only when the weeklong festival was about to end. I assume that this is to avoid the running repairs which is expected because of the wind. The use of chemicals (as popularly utilized in the sand sculptures by the beach) was banned. Hence, they had to water the scupltures at least twice a day.
Stalls selling clothes, CDs, toys, perfumes and souvenirs were also made available.
And here goes my two favorites:
The shepherd and his camels. I thought it’s an intricate work and it speaks a lot about the UAE’s history especially during the time of the bedouins.
People and the palm tree. I liked this sculpture a lot because I see the image of “bayanihan” (helping each other/teamwork) with the group of sand people as they were ready to plant a palm tree.
I think that the Emirates Heritage Club should carry on this festival again next year. While there are many activities happening in the UAE, the use of the sand itself in the showcase is very Middle East and it’s one of the activities they can position themselves better when it comes to telling the story of their rich culture and history. They should also strengthen the campaign so that more residents and visitors can benefit from this free exhibit.