Enter Sand Man

Most mall kiosks attract only a casual glance from passing shoppers.

Khaled Safi also known as the Sand Man works on a project at his kiosk in the Bower Place Shopping Centre on Tuesday. Safi creates intricate paintings in sand within glass bottles and vases.



Most mall kiosks attract only a casual glance from passing shoppers.

Khaled Safi’s can stop them in their tracks.

The sand artist has been turning heads at Bower Place Shopping Centre since setting up shop there earlier in the month. Using an elongated funnel and a colourful array of sand, he creates detailed images inside glass containers.

On Tuesday, he attracted a small gathering of spectators as he manipulated his sands into a line of camels trekking though the desert, with birds flying overhead and mountains in the background.

The scene, produced inside a small vase-like container, took Safi about eight minutes to complete. Larger, more elaborate projects can require hours.

“If it’s detailed, it takes me time,” he explained.

The desert sand Safi works with comes from Jordan. Some of the more than 20 colours he uses are natural, others he creates.

Many of Safi’s containers are made in Jerusalem specifically for his sand art.

Although he’s produced everything from eagles to horses, camels seem to resonate with sand art buyers and now account for about 90 per cent of his work. But Safi also does custom pieces, including reproductions from pictures or drawings.

His sand art ranges in price from $10 for a simple piece to hundreds of dollars for larger, detailed projects.

Safi has been creating and selling his art at West Edmonton Mall for the past four years. This Christmas season, he decided to venture south to Red Deer, leaving his son in charge of the Edmonton shop.

He plans to return to Edmonton after Christmas, and hopes to teach sand art in the new year.

Safi believes he’s the only person in Canada doing sand art as a profession. Even among his counterparts in the Middle East, he said he’s well-known.

“They call me the King of Sand.”

Born in 1949, Safi became interested in sand art as a young teen — influenced by his father’s work in the area. After growing up near Jerusalem, he immigrated to Canada in 1985.

For years, Safi participated in craft shows and others exhibitions across the country. He continues to show his work at events like the Calgary Stampede, Edmonton’s Capital EX and the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6

HEBER, Utah — A man suspected of driving under the influence remained… Continue reading

A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US

TAPACHULA, Mexico — A ragged army of Honduran migrants streamed through southern… Continue reading

Postal workers to begin strikes in 4 Canadian cities Monday if deal not reached

OTTAWA — The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees says it will… Continue reading

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Most Read