Punta Del Este Hand

August 25, 2012 by · Comments Off on Punta Del Este Hand 

Punta Del Este Hand, Monumento al Ahogado (English: Monument to the Drowned) is a sculpture of five fingers partially submerged in sand, located on Parada 1 at Brava Beach in Punta del Este, a popular resort town in Uruguay. It is colloquially referred to as either Monumento los Dedos (Monument of the Fingers) or La Mano (The Hand). In English, its popular name is The Hand.

It is a famous sculpture that has become a symbol for Punta del Este since its completion in February 1982, and in turn has become one of Uruguay’s most recognizable landmarks.

The sculpture was made by Chilean artist Mario Irarr?zabal during the summer of 1982, while he was attending the first annual International Meeting of Modern Sculpture in the Open Air in Punta del Este. There were nine sculptors, and he was the youngest one. There was a fight for the places assigned on a public square, so he decided to make his sculpture on the beach. He was inspired to make a sculpture of a hand “drowning” as a warning to swimmers, as the waters at La Barra up the beach had rougher waves which were better for surfing only, while the other way, waters at Solanas were much more suited for swimming practice and windsurfing activities.

While Irarr?zabal had the entire summer to complete the project, he managed to finish in the first six days, despite facing minor delays due to the strong southeast wind which is common in Punta del Este. The concrete and plastic fingers were reinforced with steel bars, metal mesh, and a degradation-resistant solvent covering the plastic on the outside.

Throughout that summer, sculptors from around the world worked on their creations at the beach, but only Irarr?zabal’s continues to sit on the beach today. It gained Irarr?zabal worldwide acclaim and is popularized by tourist photographs and reproductions on postcards. He later made near or exact replicas of the sculpture for the city of Madrid (in 1987), in the Atacama Desert in Chile (1992), and in Venice (1995).

The hand has not left its original spot, and has remained largely untouched, save for minor graffiti on the palm side of the fingers which was written in 2005.

Punta Del Este Hand