Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Lady of the Sand

She’s called The Lady of the Sand. Her name: Kseniya Simonova. Born in the city of Evpatoriya on the Crimean Peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea, Simonova is considered a national treasure in her Ukrainian homeland.

Her talent: She’s a performance artist who creates magical “sand stories.” She does this at a lightning speed, faster than any known artist working with sand anywhere else in the world.  She has such an intuitive mastery of the medium that she can create her stories while blindfolded. River sand and beach sand aren’t the right consistency for her work, so she uses rare and expensive volcanic sands.

How best to describe her work? Imagine a Navajo sand painting that springs to life, becoming animated — the scenes constantly shifting and evolving. All told, she has created more than 200 sand stories, the first of which she revealed to the public in 2009, when she won Ukraine’s You’ve Got Talent competition and its $110,000 prize money. Her winning sand story, You Are Always Nearby, has been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube, making it the most popular YouTube submission ever from anywhere in the former USSR.

Here, we present Simonova’s Endangered Species, a collaboration with American jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding. You can find more than 90 other sand stories by Simonova by visiting her website at Simonova.TV or her YouTube channel at

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