Artist Ksenia Simonova and her new sand show at Artek

Artist Ksenia Simonova, master of sand animation, performed at Artek. Ksenia showed her famous sand stories, which have been applauded in concert halls in 50 countries. She also presented a new program on simple safety rules prepared especially for the young audience. On International Children’s Day, Artek children and students of the Gurzuf Art School watched the show. It was a reward for the best students of the year.

An amazing thing about sand is that it can tell any story, Ksenia Simonova believes. “Sand animation is a new multimedia genre. I think this is the language we should use to speak with people of your age. You won’t listen to any lecturing and it is good that you don’t,” the artist told the children. “Today, I will talk with you about security using sand. It took me two weeks to create this story.”

Artek children and students of the Gurzuf Art School watched the sand turning into changing pictures under the artist’s hands. One move, and a storm moves over the calm sea. It is a bad idea to go swimming in this weather. An EMERCOM boat will help those who find themselves in trouble. Here comes the second story: a dropped iron and a long phone conversation can cause a fire to break out. The sand movie reminds children to call 101 if this happens. Ksenia prepared the new film at the request of Crimean EMERCOM in order to draw children’s attention to simple but important rules, once again using the magic of sand animation.

Of course, the children wanted to talk about more than safety. They asked Ksenia about her childhood, dreams and sources of inspiration. She said that she was an average girl who liked to draw since she was little and, after graduating as a psychologist, continued to do it. However, brushes and paints were eventually replaced by an unusual material: sand. Ksenia showed children the famous story “You are always here”, about Yevpatoria during the Great Patriotic War. This was the work which brought the artist fame (the video has almost 40 million views on YouTube).

The audience was not only interested in the plots but also in the technique. How are these remarkable films created? “Transformation here and now is the main difficulty in sand animation, but also its main charm. In order to do this, you should… dream,” the artist revealed. “Each child is unique and talented; they feel what a fairy tale is. And everyone can try to do this at home, only a small framed glass is needed. This art has no rules; you are free.”

After the show, Artek children and Gurzuf students gathered around the animation table. Everyone was able to try drawing their first pictures, although it turned out to be more difficult than it seemed at first sight.

“I was moved by the story about close relationships. We must not forget our parents when we grow up,” said Narana Ivanova from Ulan-Ude. “I was surprised by the technique involved in sand animation. The artist compared it with a dance where sand follows the music. It looks very beautiful. And at first you think that this is easy, but I am a creative person myself and I can see that it is, in fact, a lot of work.”

“We study various techniques and materials in our studio. Today I’ve seen that you can draw with sand,” says Anna Kushakova from Gurzuf, with surprise. “After the show we came closer to the table and tried to create something. It would be great to have sand animation at our school and studio.”

“It is my first time in Artek and I am happy to be here. The children are amazing,” Ksenia Simonova said. “I want the creative ones to avoid following trends. Many try to do this and lose themselves. It becomes difficult to distinguish between show business, creativity and conceptual art. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to be out of fashion.”