A sand drawing portrait by Andrew Magdy - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy A sand drawing portrait by Andrew Magdy - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy

Sand Storytelling

Sat, Apr. 28, 2018
Andrew Magdy speaks about the undervalued art of sand painting and his seven-year journey as a sand artist.



CAIRO - 28 April 2018: An effective finger movement, a light box, an ample of sand and a camera are all he needs to create a masterpiece of sand art drawing. Andrew Magdy took a life-turn seven years ago when he resorted to Youtube to learn sand art and moved on to pursue that dynamic and inspirational live performance art.

A lawyer turned sand artist, Magdy found in sand art a challenge similar in difficulty to presenting defense arguments in court, he tells Egypt Today. He shifted careers and has been a sand artist for seven years now.

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A sand drawing portrait by Andrew Magdy - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy


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A sand drawing portrait by Andrew Magdy - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy


“I remember that I used to draw up to seven hours per day to master it,” Magdy says, adding that it took him a year to refine his sand drawing technique. He moved to Dubai in 2016, where he has been pursuing a freelance career as a sand artist, “converting sand into art that tells a story.”

A sand drawing performance is a journey that the artist and the audience share together, starting with a blank screen, Magdy says. “People are involved in the drawing… [they] feel and admire the beauty of art while [the drawing is] still in process,” he adds.

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Sand Artist Andrew Magdy during a performance - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy


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A sand drawing portrait by Andrew Magdy - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy


The artist creates the pictures during a live show, by moving his fingers on a glass board covered with sand, while colored lights are projected on the glass and a selected music is played in the background.

The live performance, attended by audiences who share an interest in this art, shows the artist’s capabilities, and proficiency in building a unique, expressive picture then wiping out his artwork to build another one within a set timeframe. The artist repeats the process several times to create a storyline that could be a drama theme, or portraits of famous people, among other infinite creative ideas. Magdy explains he chooses different themes that are relevant to the events he is participating in.

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A sand drawing portrait by Andrew Magdy - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy



A rule of thumb in performing a sand art show is to rehearse to be able to synchronize with the music in the background, Magdy says. “No improvising, you have to rehearse everything and every single detail and master it before you go on stage.”

Although he believes there are places in Egypt, mostly touristic cities like Sharm el-Sheikh, where sand art shows are demanded and artists can make a living by practicing it, Magdy says that “there are no venues to teach sand art in Egypt; it’s a self-taught kind of art.”

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A sand drawing portrait by Andrew Magdy - Courtesy of Andrew Magdy


How-to-do videos on Youtube have greatly helped Magdy, who in turn advises beginners interested in learning about this type of art to rely on them. He explains that the timeframe for mastering sand art varies from one person to another according to their talent and practice time.

While Magdy plans to go to Europe next year to complete his studies and become an international artist, he would also like to return to Egypt one day and offer sand art classes to those who share his passion for this type of art.
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