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Desert Hand

AttractionsArchaeologicalToursSightseeing ToursNature & Adventure ToursCulture & History ToursOff the beaten track
This remarkable sculpture by Mario Irarrázabal is located in the Atacama Desert, next to the Pan-American Highway, 75 kilometers south of the city of Antofagasta. It was inaugurated on March 28, 1992, and consists of an eleven-meter reinforced concrete sculpture, which represents a left hand. It was funded by the Pro Antofagasta Corporation, which is also responsible for the maintenance of the work, because given its location, 1,100 meters above sea level, it is exposed to high temperatures during the day and the contrasting cold at night, also of being spray scratched by some of its visitors. It is considered a tourist icon of the Antofagasta region.

Its author has made variations of this work in different parts of the world, such as Playa Brava in Punta del Este (Uruguay), Juan Carlos I Park in Madrid (Spain), and the Italian river city of Venice. For Mario Irarrázabal, this sculpture embodies a primitive and magical force, which seeks to move from the reflection on life and death. Born in Santiago in 1940, he trained in philosophy and theology at various universities and seminars in Rome, Paris, and California. He taught at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. During the military dictatorship, he was taken prisoner in London 38, a clandestine torture detention center. After being released he devoted himself to an artistic career where great humanist concerns have always been present. Winner of a dozen awards and global awards, the Hand of the Desert is perhaps one of his best-known works.


Desert Hand, Atacama Desert

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