Gaza woman uses sand sculpture to highlight Palestinian cause

GAZA (Xinhua) – Rana Ramlawi, a 23-year-old Palestinian young woman from the Gaza Strip, resorts to sand art to highlight the Palestinian cause and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In her sculptures made out of sand and water, many messages are conveyed in support of the Palestinian cause, since she believes art is an important way to emphasise the rights and demand for freedom and ending the Israeli occupation.

“One of my goals in my works is to keep this heritage and say that our identity, which Israel is trying to eradicate, is still there,” she said.

“As a Palestinian artist, I try to keep this cause alive from generation to another through my works,” the young woman added.

Ramlawi’s brother was seriously injured in the foot by an explosive bullet shot by Israeli soldiers during the anti-Israel rallies along the Gaza-Israel borders that have been going on since late March last year.

“My brother’s injury negatively affected me and made me stop sculpting for a month … I resumed work by doing a sand sculpture that details the injury of my brother,” she said.

Sand artist Rana Ramlawi works on her sculptures in Gaza City on January 24. – XINHUA

During her three-year stint as a sand artist, Ramlawi has learned and mastered a lot of styles and skills about sand sculpture.

The artist, who teaches basic education at refugee schools in Gaza, said she has found great creative potentials in sculpture and drawing where she can put her thoughts and beliefs into sculptures and paintings.

Sand art is the practice of shaping sand into an artistic form, such as sand brushing, sand sculpture, sandpainting and sand bottles.

Sand forms are typically made by children for fun, but there are also sand sculpture contests for adults that involve large, complex structures.

Ramlawi said one needs to improvise to master this type of art.

“I was playing with wet sand after a rainy day, without specifying a particular shape. I was just sculpting curves that turned it into circles,” she said.

“When the circle was completed, I imagined the shape of a human being. I completed the head without face details and then the body until it became a full statue,” the Palestinian artist added.

Ramlawi uses a number of simple tools, including a thin wooden stick, to carve the wet sand grains. In addition to the sand and the stick, she uses a shovel, a trowel and some water.

“I aspire to have my own gallery, which helps me keep my works alive,” she said, blinking her eyes hopefully.