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PHOTOS: B.C. sand sculptor’s book inspired by 3-days of rain in Kuwait

Stories in Sand - The Arabian Nights bound for book form after successful kickstarter

When things collapse Damon Langlois rebuilds.

The seasoned artist from View Royal embraces the unpredictable world of sand sculpting, where each masterpiece is vulnerable to the whims of weather and nature.

His latest endeavour documents the resilience and creativity required to overcome massive destruction.

Rebuilding is “just something that’s in the DNA of a sand sculptor,” he said.

“What makes a sand sculptor is really the ability to stare down risk and abject failure and embarrassment. Anybody who has had something go wrong and it affects them they quit.”

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Langlois is a five-time world champion in sand sculpting, designer of the tallest sandcastle with the Sand Sculpture Company in 2015, creator of Liberty Crumbling, the most shared sand sculpture on the internet, and has won the Canadian Open in Parksville multiple times.

No destruction stands out more in his storied career than when he was artistic director for a monumental immersive sculpture project in the heart of Kuwait City.

A decade ago, 72 professional sand sculptors set out to carve 30,000 tonnes of sand into a small town. Halfway through the project, a rainstorm hit.

“It never rains in Kuwait, it’s the desert and we get taken out by a three-day storm,” Langlois said. “We knew this going in, it is just sand and water.”

After the rains, the team did what came naturally, working more than 20,000 hours to complete the project. Although they lost the top four feet of the walk-through sand palace, it was still an impressive 52 feet when they finished.

As the 10th anniversary approached, Langlois revisited and refined the booklet concept.

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“It was a compulsion because here we’d made this masterpiece in the desert … the best sand sculptors in the world and we’d made this immersive sculpture park,” he said. “Only a handful of people only ever saw that or experienced that.”

As part of the planning, he’d created 32 short stories based on original tales for each sculptor to work from and be inspired by.

“It was always sort of in my mind as a book,” he said. “When you look at sand sculptures, most people only briefly look at them, go, ‘oh, that’s amazing,’ take a photograph, and move on.”

In this project, his simplified versions of the tales would accompany the sculptors’ works – sort of like a program. Over the last decade, he’s fine-tuned the volume to 300 pictures and 32 shorter versions of the stories from the Arabian Nights, crafting a 276-page art and story book.

As a first step, he launched an online funding platform for Stories in Sand—The Arabian Nights, which hit its investor goal well ahead of the deadline.

“The next step from that is the key. I want a publisher to pick it up,” he said. “It needs to get out there.”re.”

Visit for more about the book.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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