Sand Art

Have a fun day out at the beach and make a giant sand map!


The exhibition Swallowing Geography is about connecting to land and spaces in our local environment - the place where we live and how we look after it.

The exhibition explores our relationships with land / place and how our connection with the whenua, with people and whanau - are important. 

What to bring to the beach: 

Bring spades


Anything that is good for digging

Anything that is good for making marks in the sand


This Create activity relates to artist Ana Iti's work Takoto, 2020.

This artwork was site responsive, meaning Ana Iti made Takoto for the space where it was displayed.

Ana has researched and explored the environment around the Auckland Art Gallery and Albert Park, she has then worked with different techniques, textures and ideas to share the history of that space.

Through this artwork Ana Iti is exploring our connection to land and the space where we live by using abstract mapping techniques.

Image Credit: Ana Iti, Takoto, 2020, commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, supported by the Chartwell Trust and the Contemporary Benefactors of Auckland Art Gallery.

Step 1

Collect driftwood, leaves, grass, shells and any taonga (treasures) that you think would work well in your sand art.

Step 2

Begin making a giant sand map of the place where you live with the help of your whanau and friends.

Step 3

Think about the colours, textures and natural materials that surround you in your place.

Could you represent these colours, textures and natural materials in your map?

What do these represent?

Could you include rivers and streams? 

Step 4

Mould the sand to show hills or valleys.

Scratch, draw or rake, give different textures to the sand to show long grass, sticky mud or flowering plants.

Step 5

Think about how time or the seasons effect your place.

Does the tide come in? or go out?

Does the river swell when there's a stormy day?


Think about these changes and how you could show these visually.

Maybe you could show the high tide line with a line of driftwood, does your beach already reflect that?

Have a good look at your space and see what you could recreate in your map.

Step 6

Add the finishing touches to your site responsive map.

Step back and admire your hard work!


What could your whanau do to help look after the space where you live?

What would your message be to others?

All Done!

Make sure to only leave the natural materials you found at the beach.

How did your artwork turn out? We would love to see your creation!

Share it with us, take a photo and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #GBCreate or email it to us: and we can share it for you.⁠