Desert Breath is a swirling landmark on the Red Sea shoreline and deep in the Sahara desert. Given its remarkable size and nearly flawless symmetry, you may think that it was created there by extraterrestrial visitors.
Desert Breath…appeared 20 years ago in Egypt
Desert Breath is an environmental art structure that consists of two interconnecting spirals made of sand and produced on such a large scale that the forces of time and nature have only just begun to erase their trace on the landscape. A dry sky over the world’s biggest desert was previously mirrored in a pool of water in the center of the spirals. The pool, however, has since dried up and vanished, possibly as a tribute to the purity and scarcity of pure water in this harsh desert.
Desert Breath is an artwork consisting of swirls in the desert. This work, which is described as “epic,” was carried out by a group of artists created between 1995 and 1997.
To make “Desert Breath,” it required emptying 8,000 cubic meters of sand, as it covers 100,000 square meters of desert. The artwork represents a gigantic vortex of sand cones and craters that jut out from a central body of water resembling a small lake. While those who see it feel that the closer they are to the center, the small conical shapes get bigger little by little, and vice versa, the farther away from the center.
The artists describe the desert as “a place where one experiences infinity” and want their art to transfer this feeling. They picked this specific area “between the sea and the mountains” at the point where the immensity of the sea meets the immensity of the desert.
The gradual dissolution of Desert Breath depicts time’s invincibility. Its beauty lies in its impermanence, shape-shifting, and the makers’ conscious intention to allow it to grow. It will eventually vanish beneath the sand, water, wind, and time. Desert Breath is now controlled only by time’s transformational force, not humans.