Without timely efforts to adapt to sea level rise brought on by climate change, our beloved beaches could virtually disappear, leaving a ragged and dangerous coastline in its wake. That’s a future sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik never wants to see. To raise awareness about the real threat of global warming, the artist, together with 30 of his students, created a massive art installation on the beach behind Panthanivas hotel in Puri, Odisha, India. The project features 500 Santas springing up from the sand, lounging, and walking the beach full of the holiday spirit.
Normally, any mention of Santa is coupled with wishes for gifts or myths about toy-making elves, but these ‘Sand-tas” exist to spread messages about saving the Earth. The installation, which also includes a massive sculpture of Jesus with the message “Go green, save earth” inscribed at his feet, required nearly 5,000 tons of sand and around four days to complete. Some of the sand was colored green and red to represent Saint Nick’s flashy coat and green grass.
“I always try to give some awareness messages through my sculpture to the world, so I chose the awareness about global warming through Santas as the subject at the year end,” Pattnaik told the India Education Diary. The Puri beach installation wasn’t the first time the artist has attempted a record-setting number of sand sculptures in one place. He created 100 sand Santa Clauses in 2009, setting a record in the Limca Book of World Records.