‘Icarus’, by Ilya Filimontsev, took home first place in the solo division. (Emily Vance photo)

Russian sand sculptor nabs top solo prize at international competition in Parksville

Works will remain on display until Aug. 18

After 30 hours of sculpting, the judges have spoken and the tallies are in for the 2019 Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition in Parksville.

This year’s theme is ‘Myths and Legends’.

Taking home first place on Sunday in the solo division was Ilya Filimontsev of Russia for his sculpture, Icarus. He has been sculpting sand since 2005, and has participated in more than 100 international competitions.

“It feels nice,” said Filimontsev with a laugh. “I try to make something the best I can, I’m very happy to have first place. I’m satisfied.”

Second place in the solo division went to Enguerrand David from Brussels, Belgium, for his Pinocchio on Vacation at Okanagan Lake.

Third went to Karen Jean Fralich of Burlington, Ont., for Royal Guardian. In fourth was Yoshiko Matsugi of Japan for The Dream Comes True. Melineige Beauregard of St. Hippolyte, Que., took fifth for Creation of the Abenakis Nation.

In the doubles division, first prize went to real-life couple Jonathan Bouchard and Jacinthe Trudel of St. Calixte, Que., for their sculpture Believe. The sculpture depicting a dragon wrapped around a castle-like structure is located at the front entrance of the exhibition.

In second place were Dmitry Klimenko of Russia and Sue McGrew of the U.S. for Popcorn for the People. In third spot were Wilfred Stijger and Edith van de Wetering of Pieterburen, Netherlands for Don’t Fly too High.

In addition to the formal judging, sculptors had the opportunity to cast ballots for each others’ work in a competitor’s choice award.

The competitor’s choice award for the solo division went to Marielle Heessells of the Netherlands for her sculpture, Enough.

Competitor’s choice award for doubles went to Klimenko and McGrew for Popcorn for the People.

Popcorn for the People depicts Uncle Sam shaking hands with former Russian leader Vladmir Lenin.

McGrew says that the collaboration was borne from natural conversations between two people whose countries have historically been at odds in global politics. The sculpture represents the propoganda that the two grew up hearing about each other’s countries.

“You make a friend from that country, and you find that you have so many similarities. And all the stuff is just stories and myths… about what the other culture is like,” said McGrew.

McGrew says she wasn’t sure how their sculpture, with its deeper political meaning and symbolism, would be received or understood.

“We were nervous. Because it’s that borderline — it’s interesting, but it’s so symbolic and out there. We were like ‘I hope people get it, I hope people appreciate it,’” said McGrew.

A number of competitors, including Filimontsev and McGrew, are off to compete in the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival in Massachusetts.

Although the judging has wrapped up, the Parksville Beach Festival is far from over — the sculptures are on display at the Parksville Community Park until Aug. 18.

For more information about upcoming Beach Festival events, those interested can head to www.parksvillebeachfest.ca.

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

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‘Popcorn for the People’ by Sue McGrew and Dmitry Klimenko took home two awards, second place in the doubles division and competitor’s choice for the doubles division. (Emily Vance photo)

Jonathan Bouchard and Jacinthe Trudel on their way to collect their prize. (Emily Vance photo)

Sue McGrew hugs Cheryl Dill as she accepts her award alongside co-creator Dmitry Klimenko. (Emily Vance photo)

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