The Atacama Desert Hand is a rather unique work of art. Created by a Chilean artist by the name of Mario Irarrazabal, it depicts a human hand that appears to be rising out of the sands of Chile’s Atacama Desert. In part because of its large size, the sculpture often has a profound effect on those who lay eyes on it. The austerity of the surrounding terrain only adds to the overall depth.
The Atacama Desert Hand, or El Mano del Desierto, as this manmade attraction is known in Spanish, is something that tends to leave quite an impact on those who see it. Predominantly made of stone, the curious work of art stands nearly 40 feet tall and is mesmerizing for its size alone. There is also the strangeness of it all. This strangeness is largely tied to the unexpected nature of the scene that it creates.
According to the artist, the Atacama Desert Hand is supposed to express various human emotions, such as sorrow and loneliness. There is also an intent to create a feeling of helplessness and vulnerability. Whatever the intent, it has become a popular Chile attraction, especially for those who are looking for an excuse to stop while driving along the Pan-American Highway.
Interesting facts about the Atacama Desert and the hand itself are often the subject of Atacama tours as well. The Atacama Desert Hand was completed in 1992 and is found approximately 45 miles south of the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta. Those who wish to visit sculpture site can always look to arrange an Atacama Desert tour that includes it on the itinerary. They can also drive to the site themselves. Both Route 26 and Route 28 lead to the site from Antofagasta. These roads connect to Route 5, which forms part of the Pan-American Highway.
It should be noted that the creator of the Atacama Desert Hand, Mario Irarrazabal, also created other sculptures that depict portions of a human hand. One such example is the Monument to the Drowned, or the Monumento al Ahogado. You can find this sculpture rising out of the sands of Brava Beach in Uruguay’s popular resort town of Punta del Este, and it was created in 1982. Similar sculptures are found in Madrid and Venice, and they were created in 1987 and 1995 respectively.