Kseniya Simonova, the winner of Ukraine's Got Talent, has become a YouTube phenomenon by telling stories through sand animation. In this video:
"She recounts Germany conquering Ukraine in the second world war. She brings calm, then conflict. A couple on a bench become a woman's face; a peaceful walkway becomes a conflagration; a weeping widow morphs into an obelisk for an unknown soldier. Simonova looks like some vengeful Old Testament deity as she destroys then recreates her scenes - with deft strokes, sprinkles and sweeps she keeps the narrative going. She moves the judges to tears as she subtitles the final scene "you are always near".Watch this video. Really. Watch this video. It is so worth the time.
it's clear that Simonova has achieved her goal as an artist. If we take it that art's purpose is to illuminate the world in a new way, provoke a reaction, somehow alter the consciousness of the viewer then her work is a huge success. And that high art can come from a format [ukraine's got talent] that produced Stavros Flatley and that it can be popularised and sent around the world is surely some kind of modern miracle."
"What she depicts is love and war, set amidst the turmoil of WWII. Ukraine was probably the area most devastated in the war, even more than Germany. It was a conflict that saw nearly one in four Ukrainians killed. A population of almost 42 million lost between 8 and 11 million people, depending on which estimate one references. Ukraine represented almost 20 percent of all the causalities suffered during WWII. And that was after Stalin had killed millions during the manufactured famines before the war. It to this day touches every Ukrainian. That's the context of war memory that Kseniya reaches out to.
The sand art of Kseniya is set to music that reflects the tone of what she is trying to project, and the combined effect works very well. Sand animators use simple grains of sand to tell a story, in a way many people haven't seen before. What Kseniya Seminova does in a few short minutes is all the more memorable because it is so fleeting. Once she is finished, the grains of sand go back into containers and the art is swept away."