An Interview with Zahra Al Nasser : Writing Stories on Golden Sand

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Zahra Al Nasser is the first and only Bahraini female sand artist. She has conducted many international shows since 2013 and recently received a standing ovation from the audience at a show in Istanbul. 120 media channels from all over the world covered the show and the videos of the show became viral in social media channels.

Bahrain This Week introduces Zahra Al Nasser to the readers.

 

How and when did you enter the field of unique art form of Sand Art?

It all started when one of my friends suggested to try sand art when she had seen my drawings with flour on the kitchen table. I tried by taking some sand got impressed with what turned out on the table. I got curious and tried to learn the art form, but there were not many lessons.

I started to train myself and as a first step, collected the sand from the deserts of Saudi Arabia, which was ideal for sand art. I professionally started to do sand art since 2007. When Instagram became popular in 2012, I posted some pictures there. I had a fan following of 1,000 within a week. Now, 44k followers support me in the Instagram.

You are a self-trained artist. What were your challenges and doubts that you had faced?

When I started to train myself, I had to undergo rigorous training and practice umpteen times till I became perfect! There were many people to discourage the unknown art form. I told myself that I could do that and kept on trying.

When was your first public sand art show?

My first live show was for the charity and organized by the Ministry of Lecture at Amwaj in 2013. They learnt about me from the Instagram and invited me to the show.

How many shows that you have conducted so far?

I have conducted overall 250 shows in London, Turkey, Saudi, Qatar, U.A.E and of course in Bahrain.

How do you decide the theme of your shows?

There’s no limit for the sand art! There is no rule to follow as this art is open to all themes. The event organizers give a theme and I create a story out of that.

How long you take to create a story?

I create a story in one or two days. I then sit with event organizers with the planned sketch in a paper. Once they approve that, I start practicing it on the sand art table.

What all materials are essential to the sand art show?

The sand, the board, the camera and the screen. A background music adds charm to the show.

How’s the reception for the sand art?

The awareness of sand art is more in the global level that in the Arab region. Bahrain still needs more awareness of this unique art form. I wish the government and media to support this unique form of art by organizing more shows.

What are your initiatives to create awareness for this art form?

I concentrate on teaching the children than the elders. They are fast learners. Children from 6-13 years of age are very talented in drawing.

Which is your best show so far?

It is my recent show at Istanbul. The show was the story of losing culture, traditions and age old rituals by war. It also conveyed the message that what you do will come back to you. The show moved the audience that they had tears in their eyes.

What’s next for you?

My dream is to be known in the international realm and to make Bahrain and GCC proud.

Who had supported you the most?

My mother! She was the only one who had believed in me from the very beginning.