The Hand of the Atacama Desert


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Built by aliens? In the middle of the Atacama Desert, a giant hand rises from the ground. In actuality, it’s a new sculpture from Chilean artist an art piece created by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal in honor of the victims of injustice and torture during the military regime in Chile called “Mano del Desierto”.

The sculpture has a base of iron and cement, and stands 11 metres tall. Funded by Corporación Pro Antofagasta, a local booster organization, the sculpture was inaugurated on March 28, 1992. It is located 75 kilometers south of the city of Antofagasta, and 350 meters away from Route 5 which crosses the Atacama Desert plateau from north to south. It has since become a point of interest for tourists traveling Route 5, which forms part of the Pan-American Highway.

Mario Irarrázabal studied philosophy and art at the University of Notre Dame, in the United States and later studied sculpture with the German sculptor Otto Waldemar in West Berlin. He has several similar gigantic hand sculptures on display at various locations around the world.


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