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Russia Snow Giant sculptures compete in festival

Artists and sculptors have travelled thousands of miles to Novosibirsk In Russia for this year's Siberia Snow Sculpture festival. Twenty-seven participants - including twelve schoolchildren - are chipping, slicing and moulding huge blocks of snow to create ice sculptures for the annual competition that will be judged this weekend. The competitors have come from across Russia - including Baikalsk, Omsk, Moscow, Khabarovsk, Sochi, Gelendzhik, Novosibirsk, Biysk, Gorno-Altaisk, Barnaul, Tomsk, Kemerovo, St. Petersburg and Kazakhstan. Each team of two or three participants gets four cubic metres of snow to work with. Shovels, saws and knives are used in the process, but often the sculptors use self-made tools. According to the city government office, people from more than 130 nationalities live in the Novosibirsk region. In the sculptural compositions, the artists are invited to reflect the beauty and basic values of the different nations of Siberia: from antiquity to modern times. The themes used by the sculptors are based on the legends, myths, and beliefs of the local population. A jury made up of architecture and design professionals will announce winners on 8 January. The three winning teams will each receive a cup. The sculptures will remain on display until the end of January.