Sand animation, also known as sand art, is a term which has two meanings. It is the name given to a style of live performance art, and also to a type of stop motion animation. In a live performance the artist creates a series of images using sand, a process which is achieved by applying sand to a back-light surface and then rendering images by drawing lines and figures in the sand with one's hands. The process for an animation is much the same. However, with each slight movement of the sand the image is shot as a single frame, much in the same way as a stop motion animation.
I’ve included here an example of each process.
The first is a live performance by Kseniya Simonova, the winner of 2009’s Ukraine's Got Talent. Here she recounts Germany conquering Ukraine in the Second World War. She brings calm, then conflict. A couple on a bench become a woman's face; a peaceful walkway becomes a conflagration; a weeping widow morphs into an obelisk for an unknown soldier... It’s quiet moving. If British TV talent shows were this varied I might be tempted to watch.
The second film is an animation by Caroline Leaf, who is known for her work as a sand animator, but has also done some stunning shorts in a similar method by painting directly on glass under the camera. This film ‘The Owl Who Married A Goose’, made in 1974, is an adaptation of an Inuit legend.