[Sand Art by Lawrence Koh – “Wildlife” Series]
“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.” – His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Official Site: https://sanddreamer.wordpress.com/
About Sand Artist Lawrence Koh:
“I was amazed at your talent and just good you were with your performance. It must have taken many hours of practice.” – Emeritus Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong to Sand Artist Lawrence Koh
Lawrence Koh – International sand art virtuoso and multi-disciplinary artist specialized in both the visual art and the performing art. Utilizing an awe-inspiring combination of sand, music and light, Lawrence has created countless stories as a sand artist during his local and international performances as well as prestigious events such as award ceremonies, official launch, grand opening, dinner & dance, festive celebrations, meetings, seminars and anniversary celebrations. Lawrence’s performance is often graced by foreign delegates, local VIPs and international guests; while also received positive responses from notable guests such as the Former President of Singapore Mr S.R Nathan, Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong, Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister Lee Yi Shyan, Minister Heng Swee Keat, Dr Ng Eng Hen, Mr Lawrence Wong, International Model Sonia Couling, Dr Chan Mei Yoke, MP Low Yen Ling and Film Director Eric Khoo.
Some of Lawrence’s notable performances: MSH International Official Thailand Opening, Gourmet Abu Dhabi, Platts Top 250, Monetary Authority of Singapore Inter Central Bank Games, OCBC Regional Seminar, United Engineers 100 Years Anniversary, Shell Groundbreaking Ceremony, National University Health System Charity Gala Dinner at Gardens by the Bay, Lee Ming Wei’s Luminous Depths Installation Opening the Peranakan Museum, NTUC U Picnic, People’s Association’s New Year Countdown, Singapore Turf Club’s SIA Cup, BCA Awards, Institute of Mental Health 85th Anniversary, Kajima 25th Anniversary, Zurich Global Life Awards, BCI Asia Awards, Daido (Japan) 110th Anniversary Commendation Ceremony and many more.
Some of Lawrence’s previous clients: Mandarin Oriental, KFC, Pizza Hut, Panasonic, Singapore Armed Forces, National Heritage Board, Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, National Arts Council, Lian Beng Group Ltd, 7 Eleven, Abbott, Daikin, Melchers, Singex, National Library Board Singapore, Singapore Expo, Bosch, Ministry of Education, Sentosa, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, GlaxoSmithKline, National Healthcare Group, Sonangol, Mediacorp.
Being a celebrated artist in Singapore’s entertainment and art scene, Lawrence’s career spans across theatre productions, cultural fusion performances, short films, corporate videos, television programmes, television commercials, documentaries and live concerts. Lawrence was given the honour to have a special collaboration with the renowned Bhaskar’s Arts Academy during their major theatre production “CHAKRA”, featuring a captivating fusion of Indian dance, ballet, live Indian orchestra and sand art. The performance was graced by the presence of former president Mr. S.R Nathan and the tickets sold out completely; receiving standing ovation from the audience. Under National Arts Council’s request and support, “CHAKRA” was restaged once again at the Toa Payoh Amphitheatre with Lawrence being part of the National Arts Council’s “Arts for All” programme. Lawrence’s collaboration journey with Bhaskar’s Arts Academy also includes “Nalanda” a multi-disciplinary theatre production at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and “Ramayana” during the Diwali Festival of Lights Performance in Wellington, New Zealand.
Lawrence captivated the audience once again with veteran storyteller Kamini Ramachandran and live fusion musicians (keyboardist Serene, bansuri flutist Ragha and table player Kumaran) during two sold out performances of “Forest Fables” – a multi-disciplinary English theatre production presented by Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. Under the invitation from Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Lawrence performed his very own live concerts with the amazing “Tze N Looking Glass Orchestra” with talented string ensemble from ACS Independent during “Celebrate December 2013”. The performance was extremely well-received with full house for all three shows. With great excitement, Lawrence was given the honour to collaborate with the Singapore Philharmonic Winds Orchestra during the sold out concert – “Fun with Music” at the Esplanade Concert Hall as a guest soloist performing Eric Whitacre’s “Cloudburst”. Amidst his sand art journey, Lawrence and his sand art has received numerous article features and write-ups on Straits Times, Lian He Zao Bao, Business Times, AsiaOne.com, 8 Days Magazine and Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery’s “Awaken Magazine”.
Lawrence and his sand art were also featured extensively on Singapore’s television programmes. He was featured as a guest artist on Mediacorp Okto channel’s “Art Bites” and “Arts.Music.Performances”; in which he performed his original sand art with DJ Shawn Fluctuate. Subsequently, Lawrence’s sand art also caught the attention of Mediacorp’s “Artless Travelled Season 2” – an award winning international documentary about the lesser seen art forms of Asia, with Lawrence and his performances being featured on the show as one of Singapore’s unique art forms. Other television involvements of Lawrence includes the McDonald’s Wholegrain McMuffin television commercial, Starhub E-City’s television commercials as well as Mediacorp Channel 5 and Suria Channel’s “Remembering SARS” – a telemovie that featured Lawrence’s sand art portraying the stories of Singapore’s battle against SARS.
With great privilege, Lawrence’s original sand animation tribute film to Singapore was featured on Vasantham Central’s Tamil News, Channel NewsAsia’s official Facebook page, as well as Channel NewsAsia’s “Singapore @ 6” and “Singapore Tonight”. On top of that, Lawrence was also invited to be the guest artist on Channel NewsAsia’s “AM Live!” and “Artyfacts”. He is also honored to be invited to perform on Mediacorp Suria Channel’s “Fiesta Muzik” – a prestigious live telecast music concert featuring popular artists from Singapore and Indonesia. Mr Aubeck Kam, Singapore’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Dr Basuki Yusuf Iskandar, Indonesia’s Secretary-General of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, attended “Fiesta Muzik” as the Guests-of-Honour. “Fiesta Muzik” was broadcasted as a live telecast on Singapore and Indonesia’s TV channels with Lawrence’s performance receiving excellent responses.
What is Sand Art?
“In Buddhism, they say attachment to anything only leads to suffering. So when we laugh, it’s our way of saying, ‘I’m unattached to that.’ You’re tickled by it, it makes your lobes do something on their own. So humor is very important to me. I always take that to the stage first.” – Jason Mraz
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 to a type of animation. In the former, an artist creates a series of images using sand, a process which is achieved by applying sand to a surface and then rendering images by drawing lines and figures in the sand with one’s hands. A sand animation performer will often use the aid of an overhead projector or lightbox (similar to one used by photographers to view translucent films). In the latter, animators move around sand on a backlighted or frontlighted piece of glass to create each frame for their animated films.
Sand Painting of the World:
Tibet – The Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. A sand mandala is ritualistically dismantled once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.
Native American – In the sandpainting of southwestern Native Americans (the most famous of which are the Navajo (known as the Diné)), the Medicine Man (or Hatalii) paints loosely upon the ground of a hogan, where the ceremony takes place, or on a buckskin or cloth tarpaulin, by letting the coloured sands flow through his fingers with control and skill. There are 600 to 1,000 different traditional designs for sandpaintings known to the Navajo. They do not view the paintings as static objects, but as spiritual, living beings to be treated with great respect. More than 30 different sandpaintings may be associated with one ceremony.
Indigenous Australian – Indigenous Australian art has a history which covers more than 30,000 years, and a wide range of native traditions and styles. These have been studied in recent decades and their complexity has gained increased international recognition. Aboriginal Art covers a wide variety of media, including sandpainting, painting on leaves, wood carving, rock carving, sculpture, and ceremonial clothing, as well as artistic embellishments found on weaponry and also tools. Art is one of the key rituals of Aboriginal culture. It was and still is, used to mark territory, record history, and tell stories about “The Dreaming”.
Japanese tray pictures – From the 15th century in Japan, Buddhist artists in the times of the shoguns practiced the craft of bonseki by sprinkling dry colored sand and pebbles onto the surface of plain black lacquered trays. They used bird feathers as brushes to form the sandy surface into seascapes and landscapes. These tray pictures were used in religious ceremonies. Japanese esoteric Buddhism was transmitted from East Central Asia after the 8th century, and thus these Japanese Buddhist sandpaintings may share earlier historical roots with the more intricate brightly coloured Buddhist sand mandalas created by Tibetan Buddhist monks.
Table decking – During the 17th and 18th centuries, the royal courts of Europe employed “table deckers”, who decorated the side tables at royal banquets having adapted the craft of ‘bonseki’ from the Japanese. The table deckers sprinkled coloured sands, marble dust, sugars, etc. upon the surface of plain white tablecloths to create unfixed pictures of fruit, flowers, birds and rustic scenery. In between each design spaces were left for fruit bowls and sweetmeat dishes so that the diners could refresh themselves in between the main courses of the feast. These ornate pictures were discarded along with the debris of the feast.
Georgian sandpainting – Sandpainting as a craft was inspired by King George III, who was a skilled watchmaker and craftsman in his own right, and took an interest in the skills demonstrated by royal functionaries, known as Table Deckers, who decorated the white table-cloths at royal banquets with ornate centre-pieces decorated by using coloured sands and sugars as ‘paint’, and a bird’s feather as a ‘brush’ a craft introduced by a European traveller who had observed the craftsmen at work in Japan.
Victorian sand picture souvenirs – Thousands of sites exist where it is possible to collect natural coloured sands for craftwork, with an enormous range of colours being available around the globe varying with the contents of the mineral charged waters leaching through the sands. But for the tourist the vertical sand cliffs at Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight form the central portion of a visual geological phenomenon (best viewed after a shower of rain) which encapsulates the impressive chalk spires of The Needles and Tennyson Downs. Aspiring sand crafters are now banned from risking their lives climbing the cliffs to collect the 21 coloured sands available in the bay, and to prevent excessive damage to the environment, but the sand kiosks have in the past been there to supply their needs.
Senegal – In the 1860s to 1890s Andrew Clemens a deaf mute born in Dubuque, Iowa, USA became famous for his craft of creating unfixed pictures using multicoloured sands compressed inside glass bottles or ornate chemist jars. The sand was collected from the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. The subjects of his sand bottles included ornately decorated sentimental verses, sailing ships, plants, animals and portraits.