For several years Establishment “Kultūra” of Jelgava city self-government have been organizing The International Ice Sculpture Festival which every year surprises visitors with amazing artwork created from ice. This festival over the years has grown, evolved and gained good reviews for viewers, overseas artists and amongst other festivals.

Most of the ice festival organizers and sculptors during the summer season work in the sand sculpture area. That is why for a long time successfully is developing ice and sand sculpture festival movement in the world, which is very popular in the nations who organize ice sculpture events. During the years while the International Ice Sculpture festival has been organized we have gained experience and emboldened by the ice sculpture artists we talked with artists and curators within the sand sculpture festival area. In 2007 the first International Sand Sculpture festival “Summer Signs” took place and it was the first festival in Latvia which continued the tradition of other Europe’s festivals - after ice sculpture events organizing equivalent sand sculpture festival in summer season.


The first International sand sculpture festival took place from 2 to 7 July on Pasta Island. The ice and sand sculptor Zigmunds Vilnis was invited as the artistic and technical consultant of the festival. Twenty sculptors from Latvia, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia and Great Britain made 10 sculptures two metres high, in teams of two. The range of topics of the works made by the participants of the Festival was very wide, from naive and childish heroes and mythological images to stylised natural elements and the reproductions of complicated decorative shapes.


The visitors of the festival were pleased not only by the sand arts of work, but also by the varied culture programme, the highlight of which was the impressive fashion show organised in cooperation with the Fashion House “Tēma” outside Riga. A 20 metre long platform was made especially for the fashion show whose continuation was a sand sculpture. The sand sculptures were evaluated by participants of the festival taking into account several evaluation criteria – creativeness, technical mastery and artistic expression.



Winners of the festival:

1st place - Irina Chistyakova, Andrey Molokov (Russia) “Love”

2nd place - Sarah Kate Robinson (Scotland), Anda Lieģe (Latvia) “The Moon and the Sun rest on the Waves”

3rd place - Andrius Petkus, Žilvinas Stonkus (Lithuania) “Harvest”.


In the second year the festival was moved to the renovated and improved Uzvaras Park, taking into account the comfort of the visitors and participants. In 2008, Jelgava Castle celebrated its 270th anniversary and the topic of the festival “Court Banquet” was selected in honour of this event. 14 sculptors participated in the festival from Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Chuvashia, Russia and each sculptor made one sculpture. 400 tonnes of sand were used for the sculptures. In addition to the festival competition works, the artistic and technical consultant of the sand sculpture festival Zigmunds Vilnis, together with colleague Ainars Zingniks, made a sculpture “Vēstures līkloči” (“Historical Signs”) which attracted the visitors’ attention with its size and the impressive height of 6 m.



Winners of the festival:

1st place – Tanya Kuznetsova (Russia) “Vēstures rats” (“Historic Wheel”)

2nd place – Andrius Petkus (Lithuania) “Arhitektūra” (“Architecture”)

3rd place – Zile Ozolina-Sneidere /Zīle Ozoliņa – Šneidere/ (Latvia) “Dzīru karalis” (“Banquet King”).


The third topic of the Sand Sculpture Festival was “Brīnumu pasaule” (“Miracle World”). Upon making their sculptures, the participants of the festival were asked to present their national tales, legends and myths. In addition to the festival competition works, the first Sand bar was made in the Baltic states, where it was possible to buy refreshing drinks during the festival. Participating in the festival were 15 sculptors from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Finland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy and the USA. More than 400 tonnes of sand were used for making the sculptures.



Winners of the festival:

1st place - Andrius Petkus (Lithuania) “Ikars”

2nd place - Anique Kuizenga (the Netherlands) “Garuda”

3rd place - Niall Andrew Magee (Ireland) “Atvars” (“Whirlpool”)

3rd place - Jakub Zimáček (the Czech Republic) “Valkīra” (“Valkyrie”).


15 professional sculptors from 11 countries - Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Great Britain, Spain and Hungary participated in the fourth festival, who made sculptures about the topic – “Ceļojums laikā” (“Travel in Time”). In addition to the competition works and in honour of Duke Jacob who celebrated his 400th anniversary in 2010 and his contribution to the growth of the city, a sculpture was dedicated – sights from the brightest times of Kurzeme – Zemgale dukedom which was made by an international duet of experienced sculptors: Andrius Petkus (Lithuania) and Maksims Gazendams (the Netherlands). 450 tonnes of sand were used for making the competition works and extra sand objects.



Winners of the festival:

1st place - Richard James Buckle (Ireland) “1326 dienas” (“1326 days”)

2nd place - Michela Ciappini (Italy) “Ikviena ceļojums” (“Everybody’s Travel”)

3rd place - Irina Taflevskaya (Ukraine) “Vasaras eņģelis” (“Summer Angel”).


The fifth Sand Sculpture Festival had 15 professional sculptors participating from 8 countries: the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the USA, Russia, Hungary, Italy, Great Britain and Latvia who made sculptures about the topic “Cirks” (“Circus”). The sculptors widely interpreted the circus topic in their works from the circus in its classic meaning of the “political circus”. During the festival not only were competition works made, but also additional objects of sand art which were already started after the Ligo festival. The Beer bar was made out of sand by the Latvian sculptor Krists Zarins /Krists Zariņš/ who built a sand bar in the baroque style two years ago, but this time – as a carriage of a travelling circus. A 6 metre high demo sculpture and children’s playground were also made.


For the first time the spectators had a possibility to see the first burning sand sculpture in the world made by Raimonds Cirulis /Raimonds Cīrulis/ and Girts Burvis /Ģirts Burvis/. The festival obtained international recognition and in 2011 it was already clear that it had become the largest sand sculpture festival in the Baltic states. 500 tonnes of sand were used for making the competition works and extra sculptures.



Winners of the festival:

1st place – Karlis Ile /Kārlis Īle/ (Latvia) “Kauliņi ir mesti” (“The Dies have been Cast”)

2nd place - Jakub Zimáček (the Czech Republic) “Saksoklauns”

3rd place – Uldis Zarins /Uldis Zariņš/ (Latvia) “Ej tu nost” (“Come on”).


The sixth International Sand Sculpture Festival had 18 sculptors recognised in the world participating, who represented 8 countries: Latvia, Russia, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. Inspired by the Summer Olympic Games the sculptors transformed more than 500 tonnes of sand into unique works of art about the topic “Sportiskais gars” (“Sports Spirit”).


The interpretations and visions of the sculptors were very different – some sculptors associated the topic with a particular kind of sport where the sports spirit manifests itself most, another sculptor imagined willpower because it is the basis of success, while others presented it as the way “money games” or “sports spirit” is viewed in social relations nowadays. For the first time the sculptures in this festival were lit up with coloured lights as it became dark. The light shadows and colour games made the sculpture shapes and textures more impressive and the spectators had a possibility to appreciate the changes of the sculptures at night.



Winners of the festival:

1st place - Joris Kivits (the Netherlands) “Atbrīvo sevi” (“Release yourself”)

2nd place – Donatas Mockus (Lithuania) “Titāni” (“Titans”)

3rd place – Ivan Zverev (Russia) “Matadors. Bīstamās spēles” (“Matador. Dangerous games”).


The seventh International Sand Sculpture Festival had 15 sculptors from 7 countries participating - Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Canada, Estonia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands who made competition sculptures about the topic – “Zelta laikmets” (“The Golden Age”). In the seventh “Summer Signs” festival, residents and guests of Jelgava, for the first time, had a possibility to see the work performed by the participants of the first large format ceramic fire sculpture plenary taking place within the framework of the Sand Sculpture Festival – flaming ceramic fire sculptures which were built out of fire resistant material – fire clay. In 2013 a tradition popular among families was started to spend the first half of the day in musical play performances together with different heroes and images of fairy tales. 500 tonnes of sand were used for making the competition works and extra sculptures.



Winners of the festival:

1st place - Donatas Mockus (Lithuania) “Eldorado”

2nd place - Inese Valtere (Latvia) “Zelta drudzis” (“Gold Fever”)

3rd place - Andrey Koshelev (Russia) “Pienācis laiks” (“The Time has Come”).


15 sculptors recognised in the world from 9 countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, China, Canada and Colombia participated in the eighth International Sand Sculpture Festival. More than 600 tonnes of sand were used for making the sand sculptures. During the festival the participants made sculptures about the topic – “Kino” (“Cinema”). Not only were the competition works made, but also extra objects of sand art – a sand bar, demo sculpture and photo sculptures. The tradition started last year was also observed in this festival – making the flaming ceramic or fire clay sculptures.



Winners of the festival:

1st place - Inese Valtere-Ūlande (Latvia) “Alfrēds Hičkoks” (“Alfred Hitchcock”)

2nd place - Donatas Mockus (Lithuania) “Mežonīgie Rietumi” (“Wild west”)

3rd place - Andrey Koshelev (Russia) “Detektīvstāsts” (“Detective Story”).


In the Ninth International Sand Sculpture Festival the participants made sculptures by presenting the topic – “Nākotnē pēc 750 gadiem” (“The Future in 750 Years”) dedicated to the important 750th anniversary of Jelgava Town. 15 professional sculptors from eight countries – Latvia, Estonia, Russia, France, Bulgaria, Portugal, Turkey and China participated in the festival. The International Sand Sculpture Festival in Jelgava has become the largest competition of such type in the Baltic states. In general, more than 800 tonnes of sand were used for making the works. In parallel with the competition works, the largest demo sculpture made within a week was completed by an international team of four sculptors.



Winners of the festival:

1st place – Agnese Rudzite – Kirillova /Agnese Rudzīte - Kirrilova/ (Latvija) “Nākotnes atlanti” (“Future Atlases”)

2nd place - Aleksandr Skarednov (Russia) “Sastinguši pagātne” (“Stunned in the Past”)

3rd place - Iryna Taflevska (Bulgaria) “Tiekšanās” (“Aspiration”).


The topic of the 10th anniversary Festival was dedicated to Africa. In their sculptures, professional sculptors demonstrated the diversity and richness of the nature of this continent - fauna and flora, as well as the culture and traditions of the local nation. The beauty of the continent of Africa was demonstrated by 20 artists from 10 countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Ukraine, Netherlands, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Portugal, Turkey and Russia.


15000 cubic metres of sand were used for the creation of sculpture complex, which is more than in previous years, therefore, the sculptures created by artists in the anniversary Festival were the most ambitious in terms of the size. Team of sculptors - Maija Puncule, Ainars Zingniks and Eda Kaytan from Turkey - under the management of the head artist Kārlis Īle, created the biggest sand sculpture in the history of the Festival until now, which was more than 6 metres high and 20 metres wide.



Winners of the Festival:

1st place – Pedro Mira (Portugal) “Mother Africa”

2nd place - Andrey Koshelev (Russia) “King of the mountain”

3rd place - Rachel Stubbs (Great Britain) “Majestically noble”


In the 11th year of the Festival, sculptors from 5 countries created sculptures on the topic “Theatre.” Artists from Latvia, Russia, Portugal and France freely expressed by interpreting the theme, and portrayed in sand the art of both ballet and puppet theatre, and circus and traditions of ancient Greek theatre.



Winners of the Festival:

1st place – Martynas Gaubas (Lithuania) “Friendship”

2nd place - Kārlis Īle (Latvia) “Lonely doll”

3rd place - Aleksandr Skarednov (Russia) “Actress”


2018. gadā 15 profesionāli mākslinieki no 7 valstīm - Latvijas, Lietuvas, Beļģijas, Ukrainas, Ungārijas, Čehijas un Krievijas – caur saviem darbiem ļāva apmeklētājiem In 2018, 15 professional artists from 7 countries - Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic and Russia - allowed visitors through their works to look into the animal world. The sculptors in their works reflected dinosaurs, lizards, bears, birds and heroes of various fairy tale.


Festivāla laureāti:

1st place – Aleksandr Skarednov (Russia) “Red Book”

2nd place - Jakub Zimacek (Czech Republic) “Snakes”

3rd place - Oleksiy Poda (Ukraine) “Friendship”


2019. gadā Starptautiskais smilšu skulptūru festivāls Jelgavā aicināja iepazīt antīko pasauli. Savu redzējumu par šo tēmu smilšu mākslā izteica tēlnieki no Latvijas, Somijas, Mongolijas, Ukrainas, Kazahstānas, Krievijas, Lietuvas un ASV. Antīkās leģendas tika atklātas vairāk kā 1200 tonnās smilšu.

Šis festivāls izcēlās ar īpaši vērienīgām un apjomīgām skulptūrām. Pierādījums tam bija arī līdz šim austākā demo skulptūra, kas saniedza 15 metru augstumu. To veidoja viens no titulētākajiem Latvijas tēlniekiem Kārlis Īle kopā ar Maiju Punculi, Aināru Zingniku un Viļusu Matuti.


Festivāla laureāti:

1. vieta – Irina Alimurzaeva (Krievija) “Ceļojums senatnē”

2. vieta – Kevin Crawford (ASV) “Bābeles tornis”

3. vieta – Munkh – Erdene Tsagaan (Mongolija) “Mongolijas cītara”


Žūrijas simpātiju balva

Andrey Kokorin (Krievija) “Vēlmju apmāti”

Andrey Koshelev (Krievija) “Pirmās saprāta pēdas”

Oleksiy Poda (Ukraina) “Laika vērtības”


AS “Compensa” simpātiju balva

Ivan Fediv (Krievija) “Kleopatra”


Veicināšanas balva

Agnese Rudzīte -Kirilova (Latvija) “Ēģiptes hierarhija”



14. Starptautiskais smilšu skulptūru festivāls atmiņā paliks ar atšķirīgu konceptu. Pasaulē valdošās pandēmijas, ko atnesa 2020. gads, dēļ nācās atteikties no starptautiska festivāla organizēšanas, to aizstājot ar vietējo tēlnieku veidotu skulptūru parku – izstādi. Tā kā šis ir arī Jelgavas 755. jubilejas gads, tika pieņemts lēmums smilšu mākslā godināt Jelgavas vēstures vērtības – skulptūru skicēs aptverti dažādi Jelgavas vēstures periodi,  sākot ar senajiem ziemeļbriežu medniekiem, zemgaļu apmetnēm Lielupes krastā, pirmā gaisa balona pacelšanos, līdz pat pirmajai cukurfabrikai, pilsētas lielajam ģerbonim un visiem tik labi zināmajiem jelgavniekiem, grupai “Prāta Vētra”. Smilšu skulptūru parka koncepciju veidoja tēlnieks Kārlis Īle.


Smilšu skulptūru tradīcijai Jelgavā – 15! Atzīmējot 15 gadus, kopš pirmā smilšu skulptūru festivāla Jelgavā un turpinot aizvadītajā gadā aizsākto formātu, arī 2021. gada vasaras garumā jelgavniekiem un pilsētas viesiem bija atvērts Baltijā vērienīgākais smilšu skulptūru parks – izstāde.

Aicinot iepazīt latviešu vēsturiski nozīmīgos sasniegumus pasaulē, smilšu skulptūru parkā, bija apskatāmas tādas leģendas un izgudrojumus, kā – Valtera Capa radītā kamera “Minox”; Krokodila Dandija prototips Arvīds Blūmentāls; Anatola Lapina pirms vairāk kā 20 gadiem radītais zīmols “Porsche”;  Merlinas Monro, Dalī un Alberta Enšteina portretu radītāja Filipa Halsmana; Anna Kopčovska – pirmā sieviete, kura ar velosipēdu apceļoja pasauli; Jura Upatnieka radītā pasaulē pirmā hologramma; Marks Rotko; Tabakas pīpes konstrukciju patenta īpašnieks Kārlis Pētersons un citi.

2021. gada lielākais un arī apjomīgākais mākslas darbs bija viena no parka demo skulptūrām – basketbolista Kristapa Porziņģa tēls, sasniedzot gandrīz astoņu metru augstumu. Tāpat parkā bija apskatāms aizvadītajā gadā tapušais Jelgavas pilsētas lielais ģerbonis, kas tika restaurēts.

Arī šogad parka mākslinieciskās koncepcijas autors un vadītājs ir viens no pasaulē titulētākajiem tēlniekiem Kārlis Īle, kurš parka ekspozīciju veido kopā ar sešiem māksliniekiem no Latvijas un Lietuvas: Zīli Ozoliņu– Šneideri, Maiju Īli, Sanitu Rāviņu, Agnesi Rudzīti–Kirillovu, Tautvilu Poviloni un Martinu Gaubu

Pēc parka atvēršanas mākslinieki paralēli jau radītajām skulptūrām turpināja darbu pie tā papildināšanas ar jauniem tēlniecības darbiem, ļaujot ikvienam jelgavniekam un pilsētas viesim ielūkoties smilšu mākslas tapšanas procesā.

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