KARACHI: Beachgoers at Sea View received a pleasant surprise on Sunday as the sight that greeted them was not the usual one of forlorn camels and kids dunking each other in water – it was of beautiful sculptures made of sand.
Around 200 people participated in the “2nd Sandcastle Building Competition”, organised by a youth organisation, Let’s Build On. “It’s not only about promoting healthy activities on the beach. We also want to encourage keeping our beaches clean,” said the organisation’s founder, Muntazir Mahdi. Contrary to its name, the participants were not limited to only castles but could make any sculpture of their choice. Siblings Hamza and Aneeqa chose to carve out three dolphins as they also wanted to convey a message. “We want the people to keep the oceans clean and save the dolphins from dying,” they said. Their dolphins, which took an hour to complete, won the third prize in the competition.
The first prize went to Uzma Bilgrami and her team for their Arabic castle. Art graduate Madiha Fatima’s team, which came second, made a city made out of sand, a gigantic octopus and a person swimming away from it.
Dr Zsuzsanne from Hungary, who lives in Karachi, decided to build a medieval European castle with large windows and domes. “In my country, we grew up building sandcastles as it was a great outlet for our creativity,” she said.
Two teams from the Philippines were busy carving out their country’s flag and name, and a national monument. Young participants, including children as young as two years and teenagers, could be seen enjoying playing with the sand – some with finesse, some just to make a mess.
Parents of the children participating were in unison that such activities should be held every six months as they encourage youngsters to be more productive.
For the love of sand
The three sculptures on the beach which caught almost all the visitors’ attention, however, were made by 25-year-old Arif Hussain Shah who was not a participant.
His creations included the Babri Masjid which was destroyed in India in 1992, a mermaid and a female swimmer, and Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum.
Shah, a resident of Neelum Colony, comes to the beach every morning to build sand sculptures and earns his livelihood by placing a donation box in front of them. “I can’t eat or drink unless I have made something every day,” says Shah.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2012.
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