February 6, 2023
This record-breaking artist makes use of the seashores of Dubai as his canvas

(CNN) — Folks have been making marks within the sand all through historical past. For some, it is a meditative follow. For many, it is a method to signal your identify on a trip seaside. For Dubai-based Filipino artist Nathaniel Alapide, it is how he turned a Guinness World Report holder.

Dubai’s 72 kilometers (45 miles) of sun-bleached shoreline, and the huge Arabian desert, are his canvas. Utilizing solely a easy backyard rake, every morning (after checking the climate, wind and tide studies) Alapide, 45, attracts monumental calligraphic strokes throughout the seashores and deserts, rendering enormous and sophisticated designs which are quickly erased by wind or waves.

“I attempt to actually think about the rake as a brush,” he stated. “Whenever you transfer it at a sure angle it can give a unique stroke, a thinner line.”

The typical drawing for Alapide is round 20 meters (66 ft) squared. “Generally I will do a piece that can take an hour,” he stated. “Or generally I work day by day for hours to create.”

When he features a written message, the items could be greater than 100 meters lengthy.

Alapide’s sand artwork started in 2014, when he sketched a tree in tribute to his late grandmother into an expanse of sand on Umm Suqeim Seashore, within the shadow of the long-lasting wave-shaped Jumeirah Seashore Lodge.

The dimensions of the drawing impressed the resort, who supplied him his first full-time job as a sand artist in 2015.

Alapide's tree, from 2014.

Alapide’s tree, from 2014.

Jojo Villena

Since then, he has embellished the UAE’s sands with round 1,900 drawings. He is been commissioned by massive manufacturers like Burberry and Adidas, and he created a piece for Nationwide Geographic for the collection “The UAE from above.”

The UAE authorities even used Alapide’s work to show the seaside right into a public service announcement to inform the general public of Covid restrictions, with an enormous slogan studying “#STAY HOME” seen from the sky.

An ephemeral artform

In 2022, Alapide set a brand new file for the world’s largest sand picture. The drawing, measuring greater than 23,000 sq. meters (250,000 sq. ft), was commissioned by Abu Dhabi Aviation Membership and confirmed the rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It took 30 days to create and required 12,000 tons of sand in 4 colours, sourced from throughout the UAE desert.

Although he has crafted a profession from the follow, Alapide says creating an paintings from sand is not with out its challenges.

“On the twentieth day of making the world-record piece, we had been nearly 70% finished however then there was this climate that occurred,” he stated. “It was raining, and the wind was so sturdy, it erased nearly the entire piece.”

“I believe that is why I discover this sort of work fascinating,” he continued. “As a result of it is ephemeral, it is fleeting. It is like a ritual for me now, just like the morning prayer. I work on one thing within the morning and by the night it is washed away by the tide”

Alapide says that the non permanent nature of his work reminds him that every thing is in fixed change, notably in a metropolis like Dubai.

One of Alapide's dramatic creations, up against the shoreline.

One in every of Alapide’s dramatic creations, up towards the shoreline.

Chris Dabu

“When folks see the sand artwork, they see each magnificence and loss,” stated Alapide. “Magnificence within the work after which loss when it is washed away.”

“I believe making sand artwork is an effective way to attach with folks,” he added. “I like to observe how folks work together with the work and I’ve discovered that the youngsters discover the drawings greater than the adults. I believe as a result of they’re extra conscious of their atmosphere. For adults, we could be blinded by our personal lives and our busy days.”

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