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Alice in Mumbailand

A Ghatkopar mall is the set for a sand sculpture exhibit opening to the public today

The sand sculpture of the Jabberwocky Garden, the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the palace from Alice in Wonderland with a dragon on it looks like the story has come to life. Artist Narayan Sahu has been working on the exhibition since August 15.

Lights have been put in the sand to make the castle look more attractive. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Lights have been put in the sand to make the castle look more attractive. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

He says, “I have been working for almost 20 hours per day in the last week to meet the deadline. I live in Dombivali and have my own business. But this is my true passion. From the days of doing sand art on the beaches of my native place in Odisha to coming to Mumbai in 2009, this is my first love.”

Jerry Jose, the ideator (l) and Narayan Sahu (r) stand with the Alice in Wonderland sand sculptures at R City Mall, Ghatkopar
Jerry Jose, the ideator (l) and Narayan Sahu (r) stand with the Alice in Wonderland sand sculptures at R City Mall, Ghatkopar

Jerry Jose who came up with the idea of the exhibition says, “The palace was in my mind and the dragon is from the movie. I wanted the cracks to be on the structure as a huge creature on a building will cause this. It is more real life than imaginary. I just chose this since Alice in Wonderland captures the imagination of old and young alike.”

The Mad Hatter’s table has space for people to sit and take pictures with Alice and the other characters, making it interactive
The Mad Hatter’s table has space for people to sit and take pictures with Alice and the other characters, making it interactive

Trucks were used to transport the sand from beaches in Gujarat to a store in the city from where it was purchased from and then to the mall. “A 12 tonne and 3 tonne truck was used. The sand was all over the place and we had to take lot of care.

The fairy tale comes alive with the castle and dragon made with details
The fairy tale comes alive with the castle and dragon made with details

On the beach where I have done earlier exhibitions, there is lot of sand available but safety is a problem. In a mall, the security is higher, but people tend to touch the structure out of curiosity. I will be keeping security here for this exhibition as the structure will get spoilt if people touch it.”

The sculpture was made using the hard pack technique of compressi-on of sand
The sculpture was made using the hard pack technique of compressi-on of sand

The dragon’s eyes have lights as do the doors of the sand sculpture. Jose says, “I want people in Mumbai to learn about sand art which is at a very nascent stage in India. The art is really magnificent, but is expensive. A lot of labour and stamina is needed. Endurance and patience are the main factors when it comes to sand art.”

Sahu works on the sculpture as Jose looks on
Sahu works on the sculpture as Jose looks on

“I learnt a lot of techniques from Simon Smith, one of the world’s greatest sand sculptors during the sand art festivals in Goa. Jerry and I have been working together since 2009. I am hoping many people come and are inspired by my work,” ends Sahu.

Sand Art Square information
>> The sand sculpture exhibition at R City Mall, Ghatkopar’s North Wing on the first floor features the work of Narayan Sahu made with 15 tonnes of sand using the compression method with water. 
>> The theme would change every six months, the time frame the Alice in Wonderland sculpture is expected to last.
>> The tickets are priced at R50 for 16 years and above and R30 for children below 15.
>> The art work is conceptualised by Jerry Jose from Sand Cult, a company that promotes sand art in India.
>> The exhibition opens today, Saturday, September 5.

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