Life Story, written in the sand

How it all started – her destiny in lifeIlana Yahav  pouring sand

Ilana always knew that her destiny was in art: painting, sculpting, and the plastic arts in general. And she has always sought new and original ways of expressing the vast range of human emotions and feelings.

“The experience of direct contact with sand enthralled me already as a child.” Ilana recalls: “It was a happy childhood along the shores of the Mediterranean, which I would visit every day on my way to school. I would draw a personal story, a kind of living diary in the sand. I would draw quickly, trying to finish it all before the wave would come and wipe everything out. I was totally spellbound. I would stand and watch until the drawing disappeared, realizing that everything is transient and temporary…”

So it is only natural that sand art would become the big love of Ilana’s life. The ability to create a poignant story using natural and simple means was a very exciting concept to her and became her main art form.Ilana Yahav with the Chartzufim puppets


For many years, Ilana ran a studio that created grotesque and realistic latex puppets and specialized in special effects for movie productions and advertisements (a field that she had studied in Hollywood, New York and London). In her studio, Ilana created the puppets for the most successful political satire program on Israeli television, based on the notorious “Spitting Image”.

 Hand movements are keyIlana Yahav with Sand Art

Sand art, into which Ilana has put all her energies and talents, is a unique and minimalist art form in which she uses only that which God blessed her with: sand, hands and soul. It is this very simplicity that fascinates her and which makes it so challenging and exciting to her and to her audience. “I was always captivated by the ability of hand gestures to express emotions such as anger, compassion, and love… Just as in dance, such movements create emotions that play a major role in the creation.”

 Worldwide performancesIlana Yahav sand artist performs in Roma

Over her many years as a sand artist, Ilana has staged numerous performances in dozens of countries around the world, in different cultures and for people from diverse backgrounds: from small, local and intimate performances to huge and grand productions, such as a performance at the Kremlin in front of an audience of thousands, with four orchestras accompanying her creations on stage, as well as performances before the King of Spain, the King of Belgium, and many others…

Something special happens in her performances

All her performances are unique events that draw the audience into the experience and make them wound up in the creative process emerging before their eyes. Something captivating happens in all her performances: people become very emotional and often teary-eyed as well.

Ilana’s creations express her yearnings for peace and the values of friendship, compassion, love and the protection of our environment – values that touch many hearts and arouse strong identification.

Each performance is completely differentIlana Yahav  sand  art - performs in Hong Kong

None of Ilana’s performances is the same as any other. What’s more, in most cases, customers request a special artistic creation based on a topic of their choice, so that each performance requires lengthy preparations, starting with the many sketches that she makes in a notebook, after which she proceeds to experiment on the sand table itself. Here, the creation generally undergoes extensive changes as a result of the emotions and feelings evoked within her as she works with the sand.

Not just sand alone

Light and music also form important elements of Ilana’s creations. In her works, she uses lights that emerge from under a transparent table, sometimes even multicolored illumination. For the perfect soundtrack, Ilana carefully chooses music that matches the message and the sensations being conveyed.

An art that has become a mission in life

Videos documenting Ilana’s performances and works (such as those available on this website) are disseminated over the Internet by her fan base that is growing by the day. The videos are viewed by millions of people around the world and receive warm and heartening accolades from viewers of all religions, nationalities and fields of art. Ilana sees it as a personal mission to incorporate themes of peace in her works and to distribute these universal themes in the language of art, an inherently universal language.

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