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Sandtastic! World’s largest sand sculpture park in Kuwait

sandAward-winning sculptor and stone mason Delayne Corbett has spent the last few months in Kuwait as part of an international team building the world’s largest sand sculpture park for the Remal International Sand and Light Sculpture Festival at P2BK 2014 in Kuwait. Kuwait Times spoke with Corbett, who is from Canada, to get a behindthe- scenes look at the creation of the massive sculptures, expected to be among the largest ever constructed. Modeled on around 40 different scenes from the famous book, Elf layla wa Layla (1001 Nights), the sand sculptures take up around 28,000 square meters or around the size of four soccer fields. The completed project will include a 10,000 ton central sculpture more than 50 feet tall and 2,500 linear feet of 10-foot walls constructed of carved sand. Inside the sand park, there will also be a sand cafe, maze for children to walk through and a performance amphitheater as well as an array of lights in various designs. The P2BK sand sculpture park will be open for public viewing from January to April 2014. The brainchild of Dhari al Wazzan, P2BK (Proud to be Kuwaiti) is a popular local exhibition and local businesses trade fair that happens annually. It is located in the Mishref Fairgrounds.

Kuwait Times: How big is the sand sculpture project? How much sand did they use?
Corbett: The project is huge,one of the world’s largest sand sculpture projects ever undertaken. The budget also huge. Just in sand alone, we used around 28,000 tons of sand which is about 1,000 dump truck loads.

Kuwait Times: How many people were involved in the sculpting?
Corbett: We had 80 sculptors from 25 different countries sculpting.

Kuwait Times: What kind of sand did you use? Is it sand from Kuwait?
Corbett: It’s a trade secret. Essentially it is sharp sand with a small clay content.

Kuwait Times: What was the total cost of the project?
Corbett: It cost about $2 million to $3 million US dollars or about 1 million Kuwaiti dinars.

Kuwait Times: How did you mold the sand?
Corbett: The sand is scooped into a 2 foot tall form made of wood, much like a concrete formwork. The form has no top or bottom and can easily be taken apart. Sand is added into the box in layers. Each layer is then compacted by hand or by machine, and another layer is then added. We add water when necessary so the sand is damp but not mudpie wet. Once the form is full, we add another smaller box on top and repeat the process.

Kuwait Times: For the sculpting, what technique did you use?
Corbett: Once the sand is compacted and formed, we then take the top box off and start carving with shovels, trowels, knives and pottery tools. Thus we complete the sculpture from the top down.

Kuwait Times: What was the most challenging aspect of it?
Corbett: We had many challenges. The pound up on the heat is hard, working so large is challenging, especially climbing up and down.

Kuwait Times: What was your favorite part of the project?
Corbett: I enjoyed working on such a monumental scale. Some of the sculptures are 15 meters tall.

By Jamie Etheridge

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This article was published on 27/12/2013