The other day, a pair of giant hands appeared rising out of a canal in Venice, as if to support the sides of the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. It was an installation art by Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn who wanted to make a visual statement of the impact of climate change and rising sea levels on the historic city.
Quinn isn’t the only one to use hands to deliver a powerful message. Let us look at other giant hand installation around the world.
1. Mano del Desierto, Atacama Desert, Chile
Perhaps the most famous dismembered hand is “Mano del Desierto” in the middle of the Atacama Desert, located 75 kilometers south of the city of Antofagasta. The art piece was created by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal in honor of the victims of injustice and torture during the military regime in Chile. The concrete structure stands 11 meters tall.
2. Hand of Punta del Este
The Hand of Punta del Este, or Mano de Punta del Este, is another hand sculpture by the Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal, located in the popular resort town of Punta del Este, in Uruguay. The sculpture was unveiled during the summer of 1982, and has since become a symbol for Punta del Este and one of Uruguay’s most recognizable landmarks. Over the years the sculpture came to be called by different names such as Emergiendo a la Vida (Man Emerging into Life), Monumento los Dedos (Monument of the Fingers), and Monumento al Ahogado (Monument to the Drowned), although the creator prefers it to be called simply “the Hand”.
3. Praying Hands, Tulsa, the United States
These pair of mighty hands locked in prayer stands at the entrance of the Oral Roberts University campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At 60 feet high, and weighing 30 tons, it’s reportedly the largest bronze sculpture in America.
4. Hand of Harmony, Cape Homi, South Korea
The Hand of Harmony is a sculpture of a hand located on Homigot Beach, one of the easternmost points on the Korean peninsula. The sculpture made from bronze and granite was built in 1999.
5. Giant Hand at Bandung, Indonesia
This giant steel sculpture of a hand is located at the gate of Setraduta, an upper class housing complex in the north of Bandung, Indonesia. It is designed and made by Nyoman Nuarta, one of the most prominent and prolific Indonesian sculptors today.
6. Holocaust Memorial, Miami
At the Holocaust Memorial, in Miami, Florida, is a 12-meter-tall sculpture of an outstretched arm, reaching for the skies as hundreds of small human figures cling to it and to each other. The hand displays a tattoo with a number similar to the ones Auschwitz survivors sport in their forearm. The sculpture was designed by architect Kenneth Treister.
7. Hands & Molecule, Ramsgate, Kent
A pair of hands, 8 feet tall, emerging from the ground and cradling a molecule is located on the Westcliff Promenade, Ramsgate, Kent, UK. The sculpture was funded by David Barnes and funded by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. It was unveiled in June 2000 to mark the opening of the National Cycle Network (Route 15) in Thanet, Kent.
8. The Hand, Madrid, Spain
This sculpture made in 1987 is the second giant hand made by Mario Irarrázabal. It is located in Parque Juan Carlos I in Madrid, and is similar to his original sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay .
9. Giant Hands of Venice
The giant hands on Venice’s Grand Canal is the latest set of hands to appear in the world. It is not a permanent installation, but will remain till the end of November.
“Venice is a floating art city that has inspired cultures for centuries,” Lorenzo Quinn said. “But to continue to do so it needs the support of our generation and future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and time decay.”
“I wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body,” the artist said. “The hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.”