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

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

Restaurant Brands International announces executive changes and raises dividend

TORONTO — Restaurant Brands International Inc. raised its dividend as it announced… Continue reading

Puck and player tracking gets TV test at All-Star Weekend

Twenty-three years after Fox’s glowing puck made its debut, the NHL’s next… Continue reading

Some Alberta minor hockey players getting heat for Indigenous locker room dance

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association has apologized… Continue reading

Not a fly-over province: Trudeau making frequent stops in Saskatchewan

LA LOCHE, Sask. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to visit… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Backlund scores OT winner for Calgary Flames in 3-2 win over Carolina Hurricanes

Flames 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT) CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored 15 seconds… Continue reading

Glendening’s two-goal performance leads Red Wings past Oilers 3-2

Red Wings 3, Oilers 2 EDMONTON — Luke Glendening had a pair… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

OTTAWA — The Canada Food Guide’s familiar food rainbow has been replaced… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps may need to stock up on maple… Continue reading

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

Most Read