Star Wars Sandsation

It’s that time of year again: the island of Sentosa is hosting Sandsation – Star Wars Edition!


That’s a star destroyer crashed on Jakku (Rey’s home planet), by the way …


… and it’s right at the opening of an incredible sand sculpture exhibit. Fourteen sand artists from all around the world have come together for this year’s version of Sandsation, a project on Siloso Beach that took them 12 days and 2,000 tons of sand to create. Twenty of the sculptures are all Star Wars, all the time. There are lots of familiar faces on site, including Darth Vader …


… Obi-wan Kenobi …


Han and Chewbacca …


… Yoda …


… Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) …fullsizeoutput_4f1d

… Finn …


… Kylo Ren …


… and a rather ominous rendering of a young Anakin Skywalker:


The droids are here, of course!


I’m not sure why, but I really loved seeing this trio with a container ship in the background:


There are plenty of Storm Troopers on hand, too:


For those who like the various forms of transportation in the Star Wars movies, we have the Millennium Falcon ..


… and several pieces of Imperial armored transport from the First Invasion of Crait (for me, this is getting deep into Star Wars trivia):


I really liked the details in this one, like the TIE fighters carved in the background above the AT-AT Walker …


… and this little guy at the base of the fighting:


You’ll find a few iconic scenes captured in sand, including Princess Leia giving the plans to the Death Star to R2-D2 …


… and Boba Fett taking Han’s body away after he has been frozen in carbonite:


They have also constructed the creepy Return of the Jedi scene in Jaba the Hutt’s palace …


… where we watched JOOheng Tan, a Singaporean sand sculptor, painstakingly take Leia’s face and hair from this …


… to this:


Watching him at work is a very meditative experience:

The sculptor-at-work part of the Sandsation experience lets you see all of the tools of the sand sculptor’s trade: hoses, buckets, shovels, brushes, reference photos, and little tiny knives.


To cap off the Star Wars experience, you’ll find product placement writ large for The Rise of Skywalker, the latest movie in the Star Wars franchise, coming soon to theaters near you:


But Sandsation is not only about Star Wars sculptures. Every year, they host an international competition called the Golden Shovel Award. This year’s winner is Balance of Mind by Russian sand sculptor Ilya Fillimonstev:


Other entries that I really liked included A Life Journey — Growing Roots, by Pedro Mira from Portugal …


…the Silver Shovel-winning Awaken Your Strength, by Dutch artist Susanne Ruseler …


… mostly because I liked the dragon …


Embrace the Journey, by American Sue McGrew (probably my favorite)…


… and Mysteries of the Deep by American Meredith Corson, where a nearly normal-looking human head …


… arises out of a reef of coral and sponges:


One of the Golden Shovel entrants returned to the Star Wars theme for his individual sculpture; here is Australian Kevin Crawford’s Jawas Salvaging a Fallen AT-AT Walker:


It was fun to inspect this one up close (Jawas are somehow much less scary when rendered in sand):


Sandsation 2019 ends with a somewhat random but very beautiful sand castle:


I think it’s amazing that all of this can be made out of sand. And while I think it’s a little sad that these sculptures exist only for a few weeks, I can’t wait to see what they build next year!

As a somewhat random closing note, for those who think that the somewhat sterile and Disney-fied island of Sentosa lacks a sense of humor, we found this sign on one of the beach sidewalks later that night … so maybe there’s hope.






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