Inspiring Person Of The Week: Sand Artist Sudarsan Pattnaik (And 25 Of His Breathtaking Creations )

sand artist and sculptor

Sudarsan Pattnaik was born and raised in the coastal beauty of Orissa, India. He came from humble beginnings, but he’s now one of the best and most well-known sand artists in the world. He creates unbelievable sand sculptures, inspired by recent events of local and global significance, national holidays, and whatever else comes to Sudarsan’s mind.


Here are 25 of his best creations and more information about the talented artist:

Hard at work

sand art
Image via Northwest Asian Weekly
indian sculptor of sand
Image via USA Today
sand sculpture of jesus
Image via The Telegraph
sand sculpture by sudarsan pattnaik of sleeping beauty
Image via The Telegraph

Sudarsan grew up in a middle class family in India.  At a young age, he was forced to drop out of school due to unforeseen financial strains upon his family. With more free time, he began exploring different hobbies and soon discovered sand art at Puri Beach when he was 7 years old. Sculpting sand quickly became his hobby, passion, and escape. Sudarsan, who is completely self-taught, says his skills were very immature and unpolished when he started out, but after meticulous practice, his hard work and commitment started to show. Crowds of people would gather around him while he was working, since it was so unusual to see someone making ornate, incredibly detailed works of art on a beach.

Sudarsan’s skills increased drastically over the following years, garnering him widespread attention.  He has competed in over 50 international sand art competitions since 1998 and received countless accolades. He’s written a book, broken world records on sand sculpture, and is the brand ambassador for the National Aluminum Company. One of his most famous pieces, “Save Trees, Save the Future” (below), won him the People’s Choice Award in the solo division at the world cup of sand sculpting.

After gaining widespread fame, especially in his home country, Sudarsan established the Sudarsan Sand Art Institute in 1995 at Puri Beach. His goal has always been to bring attention to this fine and rare form of art. When the institute began, most of the students were from India, but recently students have attended from all over the world.

Award-winning piece with partner Matthew Roy

sand sculpture
Image via Orissa Diary

Award-winning “Save Trees” Sculpture

award winning sand sculpture at world cup of sand art 2014
Image via Peggy in the Vines

Sudarsan has won awards for global excellence, youth honors, and even received an honorary doctorate. One of his biggest achievements took place this year when he was given the Padma Shri award, one of the highest honors a civilian  can be awarded in the Republic of India for contributions in art, literature, social work, medicine, and many other spheres.

Grand prize winner at the Copenhagen International Sand Sculpture Festival with this piece he worked on for 7 days

sand sculpture go green
Image via KMHouse India Blog

Honored by the former president of India, Prabitha Patil for winning the gold medal at the Moscow World Sand Sculpture Championship

Image via Orissa Diary

His works are stunning, realistic, and guaranteed to catch anyone’s eye — especially with his unique use of colors.  Here’s more of his surreal work.

Taj Mahal-World Record For Highest Sand Art Depiction

black taj sculpture
Image via Amazing India Blog

Most Santa Claus sand sculptures, world record. Sudarsan and his students created 500 of these Santa sculptures on the beach.

sudarsan sand art institute students santas 500
Image via The Guardian

He often promotes going green and being active in his community

go green sand art
Image via Orissa Diary
sand sculptures promoting green lifestyle
Image via Kannan Writes

His response when the price of onions rose

Image via The Hindu
save india's coast
Image via The Hindu
voting matters
Image via Mega Media News

Encouraging people to help save the local turtle population

save turtles
Image via Orissa Diary

He always creates sculptures highlighting current events

prince william and kate middleton's son
Image via Haaretz
michael jackson tribute sand sculpture
Image via TVARAJ Blog
world cup good luck sand sculpture soccer
Image via India West
sand sculpture tribute to nelson mandela
Image via Khabar South Asia

And just makes awesome detailed works in general

sand sculpture ganesh
Image via The Telegraph
colorful sand art
Image via Orissa Diary
gandhi sand art
Image via The Telegraph

Amazing work Sudarsan!

sudarsan gandhi sculpture
Image via TVARAJ Blog

So what can we learn from Sudarsan? When life gives us lemons (e.g. forced to drop out of school), it is not the end. No matter the circumstance, like Sudarsan, we can always pursue a passion and make a difference in the world.

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