Taipei, May 5 (CNA) Singapore artist Joo Heng Tan won the 2012 Fulong Sand Sculpture Art Festival's international sand sculpture contest on Saturday, the opening day of the festival.
Tan finished first with a sculpture made to resemble the well-known historical Chinese general Guan Yu, followed by Canadian artist Karen Fralich's artwork titled "Elephant in Dreams" and Bouke Atema of the Netherlands with her creation "Eagle Catching Fish."
A total of 44 works by 35 international artists from countries including the United States, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan, Latvia, and China competed at theannual festival organized by the Northeast and Yilan Coast NationalScenic Area Administration this year.
Tan, who has been working with sand for 13 years, said this year's competition was a perseverance test as it rained heavily for many days before the festival's opening day, which made creating artworks very difficult.
"Almost every part of the work had to be re-sculpted three times," Tan said, adding that every participant at the tournament is a winner because they have had to cope with the weather.
Asked why he chose Guan Yu, who served under warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty in the third century, the 38-year-old said he has always been interested in Chinese culture.
Last year, the festival attracted 350,000 visitors and it is hoped the number this year will exceed 400,000, said Minister of Transport and Communications Mao Chi-kuo while attending the openingceremony of the festival.
The festival will run until June 24.
(By Claudia Liu and C.J. Lin)