Sand Sculptures at Metrotown

Art is being created at Metropolis at Metrotown this week.

Sand sculpture in progress at Metrotown

An oversized sand diorama is being created in the Grand Court (the central area of the oldest section of the mall, which used to be called Metrotown Centre) by three artists, David Billings, Peter Vogelaar, and Craig Mutch. (Links on their names take you to their websites.) When complete, there will be a giant clock tower, face, shoe, game controller, and other items. All made of sand.

Model of sand sculpture

This is ephemeral art.

One could of course take photographs or make video recordings of it, but the art itself will eventually be destroyed. And the artists of course know that–they specialize in temporary art, creating sculptures out of sand, snow, or carving pumpkins. I admire artists who can let go of their creations in this way. Could you do the same? If you were a painter, for example, would you paint a picture, knowing it would be destroyed soon after completion, perhaps even doing the deed yourself?

Even so, no art should be destroyed before its time.

Just seconds after I had taken the above photos, a rubber playground ball, about the size of a volleyball, came sailing down from above. It missed sculptors and sculptures alike and landed harmlessly in the sandbed at the base. Heads raised and fingers pointed at the balconies overlooking the atrium, but the would-be vandal had of course disappeared. The artists, not surprisingly, were livid, and I’m sure would have gladly taken the culprit into a back alley themselves, had they been allowed to.

The incident does make me a little concerned over the well-being of the sculptures once they’ve been completed, though. This particular type of art takes hours of work to create but can be destroyed or extensively damaged in an instant. I wonder if the mall has any plans to put rent-a-fences around the overlooking balconies or netting over the sculpture.

In any case, live sand sculpting at Metrotown–if you’re able to go more than once during this week or so, you’ll be able to see the sand slowly transform from ziggurats of sand to representations people and objects, from the top down.

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