The tale of a sandman

Published February 6, 2011
My name is Syed Ahmed Hussain Shah Bukhari but people call me Asif. I am from Rahim Yar Khan, a village in Punjab.
My name is Syed Ahmed Hussain Shah Bukhari but people call me Asif. I am from Rahim Yar Khan, a village in Punjab.
This art of making sculptures out of sand was given to me as a blessing from the All Mighty Allah. I have been making them since my childhood.
This art of making sculptures out of sand was given to me as a blessing from the All Mighty Allah. I have been making them since my childhood.
My father passed away when I was young and so my mother and I came to Karachi. Over here I saw tall and beautiful buildings and whenever it rained I used to gather damp sand and make those buildings exactly as they were.
My father passed away when I was young and so my mother and I came to Karachi. Over here I saw tall and beautiful buildings and whenever it rained I used to gather damp sand and make those buildings exactly as they were.
I am not educated at all because we were not rich and after my father's death our conditions became worse. I was seven when I began sitting at my cousin's shop where he taught me how to sketch.
I am not educated at all because we were not rich and after my father's death our conditions became worse. I was seven when I began sitting at my cousin's shop where he taught me how to sketch.
I used to copy his sketches and redraw them over and over again to achieve excellence.
I used to copy his sketches and redraw them over and over again to achieve excellence.
One day I was walking along the shore at Seaview, Karachi, where I saw young children making a sand castle. I went up to them and said, ?you dig the sand and give it to me and I will make sculptures for you.?
One day I was walking along the shore at Seaview, Karachi, where I saw young children making a sand castle. I went up to them and said, ?you dig the sand and give it to me and I will make sculptures for you.?
I have a very good photographic memory. Once I see things in reality or in photographs, I can make them without seeing them again.
I have a very good photographic memory. Once I see things in reality or in photographs, I can make them without seeing them again.
I have been to the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam only once in my life and have never seen the Taj Mehal in India in real life but I can make their sand sculptures as their images are saved in my mind.
I have been to the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam only once in my life and have never seen the Taj Mehal in India in real life but I can make their sand sculptures as their images are saved in my mind.
Mostly, I like to make lions, the Mazar-e-Quaid, mermaids, crocodiles, and the Badshahi Mosque. Besides these I can make the Khyber Pass, the Red Fort, the Taj Mehal, the Eiffel tower and much more.
Mostly, I like to make lions, the Mazar-e-Quaid, mermaids, crocodiles, and the Badshahi Mosque. Besides these I can make the Khyber Pass, the Red Fort, the Taj Mehal, the Eiffel tower and much more.
I go to the sea shore on Saturdays and Sundays to show people my talent. Within five hours I can make about six to seven sculptures. People come, watch and go and a few give me some money too. In these two days I earn so much that I can spend my week without any problems.
I go to the sea shore on Saturdays and Sundays to show people my talent. Within five hours I can make about six to seven sculptures. People come, watch and go and a few give me some money too. In these two days I earn so much that I can spend my week without any problems.
Making these is not as easy as it seems as it requires hard work and dedication. People do appreciate my work but only in front of me and as soon as I leave I do not understand why some people trample on the sculptures and break them.
Making these is not as easy as it seems as it requires hard work and dedication. People do appreciate my work but only in front of me and as soon as I leave I do not understand why some people trample on the sculptures and break them.
I create these sculptures because my mother believes that one day I will become something great. It is only because of her prayers and the public's prayers and support that I am able to carry on. In the end I would like to give a message that if some one likes my work they should come see me at Karachi's Clifton beach and I will show them my work and will share my skills with them.
I create these sculptures because my mother believes that one day I will become something great. It is only because of her prayers and the public's prayers and support that I am able to carry on. In the end I would like to give a message that if some one likes my work they should come see me at Karachi's Clifton beach and I will show them my work and will share my skills with them.

From the shores to the Himalayas, Pakistan is a country abundant in talent. In my quest to find unique flair in the city of Karachi, I went through almost every street and came across a lot of remarkable aptitude but the one which impressed me the most was this one. It is remarkable how this individual turned the sea sand into stunning sculptures. – Text by Ali Umair Jaffery, photos by Hasaan Haider/Dawn.com

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