The Hand in the Desert

The Mano del Desierto is a large-scale sculpture of a hand located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, about 60 km to the south and east of the city of Antofagasta, on the Panamerican Highway. The nearest point of reference is the “Ciudad Empresarial La Negra” (La Negra Business City). It lies between the 1309 and 1310 km marker points on the highway. It was created to represent the awful Human Rights Chileans were going through in the past.

Graffiti idiots!

The sculpture was constructed by the Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal at an altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level. Its exaggerated size is said to emphasize human vulnerability and helplessness. The work has a base of iron and concrete, and stands 11 metres (36 ft) tall. Funded by Corporación Pro Antofagasta, a local booster organization, the sculpture was inaugurated on 28 March 1992.

It has since become a point of interest for tourists traveling Route 5, which forms part of the Pan-American Highway. It is an easy victim of graffiti and is therefore cleaned occasionally.

To get to the sculpture from Antofagasta, take Route 28 going East until the road joins Route 5 at La Negra (industrial complex) (distance from Route 1 in Antofagasta to the junction at La Negra approximately 16 kilometres (9.9 mi)). Take Route 5 going South for another 48 kilometres (30 mi), where a dirt road turns right (West) towards the sculpture. The sculpture is 450 metres (1,480 ft) from the main road. Clear signposts are placed on the road, although the sculpture can already be seen from quite a distance away.

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