S'porean sand sculptor's insane works of art are here at SEA’s largest sand festival

Sculptors from all over the world will be in Singapore for a sand sculpting competition.

Tanya Ong | Sponsored | September 05, 2018, 05:54 PM

45-year-old Singaporean, JOOheng Tan, is also known as ‘Vincent Sand Gogh’ for his mad skills in sand sculpting.

In the past two decades, he has put Singapore on the world map.

His creations earned him numerous international awards, and have been showcased in over 70 cities to date.

And you can check out his sculptures at Sentosa’s Sandsation 2018 -- Southeast Asia’s largest sand festival. But more on that later.

His origin story

Photo of JOOheng Tan, by Deanna Teng.

The professional sand sculptor has been doing this for over 20 years now, but his first foray into creating sculptures for sand festivals was in 1999.

As a final-year student for Lasalle College of the Arts, Tan did a display piece for the debut of the sand festival, Sentosa Sandsation, in 1999.

Titled “The Cosmopolis,” Tan’s 7.5m piece incorporated icons like the Merlion and the MRT.

"The Cosmopolils" by JOOheng Tan. Photo credit: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore.

This event in Sentosa allowed him to be talent-spotted by Gerry Kirk, then president of the World Sand Sculpting Association in the US, who invited him to a sand sculpting event in China.

From there, Tan was propelled into sand sculpting as a career.

Subsequently, he went on to win numerous international competitions, and even set up his own sand-sculpting company, Sandworkz, here in Singapore in 2000.


Works featured in Sentosa Sandsation

Even though he has been to various cities all over the world, he said that Sentosa is special to him.

He told the Straits Times last year:

"Sentosa will forever hold a special place in my heart as this was the place that propelled the start of my sand sculpting career.”

And given this soft spot for Sentosa (and sand), he has consistently set aside time to be involved in Sentosa Sandsation.

In 2010, he presented a solo exhibition involving life-sized sand sculptures, Shifting Sand. Seven years later, in 2017, he returned to Sentosa Sandsation with Shifting Sand 2.

Next up: MARVEL

This year, we see Tan’s involvement in a never-before-seen MARVEL edition of the sand festival this year titled “Sentosa Sandsation: MARVEL Edition.”

For this Sentosa Sandsation 2018, JOOheng Tan and his team were tasked with the monumental role of crafting larger-than-life sculptures of popular MARVEL Super Heroes.

Together, they crafted 15 Super Heroes including the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America.

Here are some of them:

Sand sculpture of Captain America. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Sand sculpture of Iron Man. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Sand sculpture of Guardians of the Galaxy. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Sand sculpture of Thor. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Check out Tan with sand sculpted Iron Man:

All 15 sculptures will be on display during the event.

Other sand sculptors here in S’pore

Sand sculptors from all over the world will also be in Singapore for the Sentosa International Sand Sculpting Championship, happening during the sand festival.

Through their MARVEL-inspired sculptures, 14 of the world’s best will compete for the Golden Shovel Award.

Head down to view the completed competition pieces from the 14 of the world’s best from Sep. 3 onwards.

Photo by Deanna Teng.

Sand sculptors at work. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Sand sculptors at work. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Apart from just admiring the sand sculptures, people are also encouraged to join the sand sculpting workshops conducted during the entire duration of the festival.

More details on that can be found here.

MARVEL-themed event

This year’s MARVEL-themed sand festival also hopes to connect to MARVEL fans with their favourite stories and characters through different Super Hero activities by the beach.

For instance, MARVEL fans can see how their strength compares to a MARVEL Super Hero in “Hulk Smash”.


Hulk Smash. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Photo from Sentosa.

Hulk Smash setup. Photo by Deanna Teng.

A one-time play at Hulk Smash requires one Token which can be redeemed at the Redemption Booth.

At the Redemption Booth, one can also bring home a Limited Edition Singapore-themed MARVEL Comic Book for one Token.

Limited edition Singaporean-themed MARVEL comic book. Photo by Deanna Teng.

There will also be unique 180-degree photo opportunities at the Freeze Frame Station for one Token as well.

Photo from Sentosa.

Token redemption mechanics can be found here.

The Hero Action Centre, however, is free of charge. There, one can take a quiz to discover who their inner Super Hero is, and get a sticker.

Hero Action Centre. Photo by Deanna Teng.

Best of all? The event is completely free of charge, and entry to Sentosa is also free for all local residents.

Sentosa Sandsation: MARVEL Edition is happening from Sep. 1 to 16, at SILOSO BEACH, from 10am to 9pm daily.


This sponsored article makes the author reminisce about all the failed sandcastles she built as a kid.

Top photo composite image, photos by Deanna Teng.