Artist Kseniya Simonova tells stories with the simple medium of sand. She is known for taking a country’s famous ballads or folk songs and animating the narrative through moving sand.
In this video, Simonova interprets the folk song “Dvi Topoli,” which is an old Ukrainian melody. Fond of translations in school, the artist believes she is translating the ballad into pictures for the audience.
Simonova begins by creating two huts in the sand. She adds a fence between them and chimneys billowing with smoke. A moon and stars hang in the sky, letting viewers know it’s night.
With swift movements of her fingers, the artist draws a tree and wide pathway from the huts. However, the story takes a turn, and the artist blows on her work. The sand pathway now engulfs the houses with flame.
The flames become a sleeping woman. Simonova pinches a floral headband into her hair. The artist forms a man embracing the woman in the sand. However, just as quickly as the two figures were formed, Simonova pushes them away and creates a lone bird in the sky.
Simonova creates a man in traditional Ukrainian dress posed as if he were letting the bird fly away. She ends her art performance by writing Ukraine in the sand with a heart.
The nation of Ukraine is on all of our hearts and minds. We celebrate their culture and people as we pray for their safety and peace. This folk song and sand art are examples of how beautiful their land can be.