“Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide. They seem the perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War,” said film director Danny Boyle, an organizer behind the event, called “Pages of the Sea.” “I’m inviting people to watch as the faces of the fallen are etched in the sand, and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made.”
Not all sand art has a social message, though. Simon Beck has created sand images to honor John Lennon, Yoga, and videogames. His enormous creations take about nine hours to complete, and he estimates he walks 12 miles within each one as he crosses the beach with his rake, over and over again. Capetown artist Andrew van der Merwe earns a living as a calligrapher, but when he’s not lettering formal invitations and documents, he hits the sands, where he calls himself the world’s only beach calligrapher. He writes names, messages, and poetry on the beach in a distinctive deep hand.
Many of the world’s artists create their images for the sheer pleasure of the experience, and if no one is on the beach while they work, their work may be not just fleeting but anonymous, appearing out of nowhere, creating questions for those who stumble upon it. These temporary works can be attributed only to a mysterious artist known as “Sandbanksy.”