A free-spirited ‘sand artist’ from the Czech Republic has turned Għadira into his personal canvas, delighting passersby with sprawling sandcastles and other artworks.
“I was trekking in Għadira Bay in Mellieha when I came across a spectacular sand artist named Petr Havel,” Raquel Scicluna told Lovin Malta. “I found Petr inside the little camp on the beach waiting for me. We had breakfast together and we also found a bag with a hot flask of coffee and some Mullino Bianco biscuits – someone must have been generous and left a bag with breakfast goodies.”
Petr, who drifts from country to country spreading his art, lives off donations given to him by the public. He was drawn to Malta due to the good weather conditions here; it takes him between 10 and 14 days to build a sandcastle, and bad weather can really slow him down.
Petr and his sand castles landed in Għadira after he travelled between Spain, France, Portugal and the Caribbean.
“He creates beautiful and touching stories with just sand and his hands,” Scicluna said. “Petr has performed sand animation beach shows all over the world in various countries! It is a great pity that Petr creates ephemeral structures, but this is the focus of his overall art practice.”
Petr started his career in building sand castles when he lived in Spain after he happened to meet another man doing just that.
“If that man can make a living with this career, then I can do it myself,” he had said that fateful day in 2013 – and, into his 40s now, he’s never looked back.
Ever since then, he has lived off the kindness of other people to provide him with everything from a room to sleep in, to food and drinks and even odd jobs.
“I noticed that during my time chatting to this man at the beach, people were taking photos non stop – but few were the ones who were kind-hearted to leave a little donation and this broke my heart,” Scicluna said.
Petr’s been in Malta for just under two weeks, but says he is intent on starting a new home for himself with Malta as his base, saying he has experience in metalworks and would be open to working as a deliveryman.
“Petr is a free spirit and any donations, clothes, and a room where he can start off, is Petr’s great wish,” Scicluna said. “We are all connected: one nation, one world, one love.”