Drawn in sand

Jibon Roy, a sand artist in Bangladesh, shares with Ahmed Shatil Alam, how he has been swept over by the art form

In his second movie ‘Ice cream’ that focused on a love-triangle, promising drama maker turned filmmaker Redoan Rony introduced a relatively new form of art called sand art. The two and more minutes long sand art depicted the whole story of the film thus entertaining the viewers, although the movie was not very successful. Through the sand art, the talented young director did not only introduce a new form of art, he also launched the first ever ‘sand artist’ of Bangladesh.
While talking to New Age Xtra, the artist Jibon Roy shares the story of how he became a part of ‘Ice Cream’. ‘One day I have saw a post of Redoan Rony on Facebook, where he was searching for a sand artist after watching a two minute long sand art during the Shahbagh Movement this year,’ he says. The sand artist who did that art was Kaushik Shangkar Das of Calcutta, India. ‘Later, I approached him through a friend of mine and shared that I am also a sand artist…and Rony asked me to work with him…And that is how I became a part of the movie,’ he says.
Roy also shares that his journey in sand art has been short having started only a few years back when he was a student of under graduate level in Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh district. As he was a member of a theatre group at the institution, he used to take part in cultural functions. During one particular programme, he thought about performing a sand art. ‘That is how it began for me,’ he says.
‘It may sound like as if sand art is very easy …but I was always a fan of Ilana Yahav and I learned sand art after watching her shows available on Youtube,’ he says when asked about how he learnt the art. Ilana Yahav, by whom Jibon is inspired, is a world renowned sand artist from Israel who learned sand art from Hollywood.
Over her many years as a sand artist, Ilana has staged numerous performances in dozens of countries around the world, such as a performance at the Kremlin in front of an audience of thousands, with four orchestras accompanying her creations on stage, as well as performances before the King of Spain, the King of Belgium, and many others. Like his inspiration, Jibon also performed his first ever performance in front of hundreds of students-teachers in BAU.
His first work was titled ‘Deforestation’ and it depicted the relentless deforestation in Bangladesh that has persisted over the decades. The art made him popular and encouraged him to pursue the form of art further.
Later, he made another video of sand art calling it ‘My Dream’. Based on his life, Roy had posted the video on Facebook after watching the popularity of sand art on Shahbagh Movement by Kaushik Shangkar Das. Roy’s post was a big hit and it went viral soon enough.
Later, in public, he also made a sand-art animation on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh and got a proposal to make another during the award ceremony of women members in Bangladesh Police. He had a blast, through the five minutes long sand-art animation made for the programme, as he tells New Age Xtra.
For making an art, Roy needs a specific quality of sand, a large glass and light table or a platform over which he draws and a camera that is installed at a 90 degree angle just over the platform to record the activities. To him, in making an art, the most important factor is to have a clear idea about what to make and be patient with the process. ‘As sand art cannot be preserved, it has to be recorded in a video form or needs to be performed in front of live audiences,’ he says.
Although, he is now competing with others in a reality show on Men airing in Channel I, with an aim to become an actor, but he aims to continue his journey as a sand-artist. ‘In Bangladesh, although there is not enough scope for such exclusive art forms, I still love this and want to continue it in my life,’ he says. His work can be found on his Youtube channel with his name ‘Jibon Roy’.

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