Los dedos, la mano, el hombre emergiendo a la vida, however you want to call it… it’s an amazing piece of art in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
“La Mano (The Hand) is a sculpture by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal. It depicts five human fingers partially emerging from sand and is located at Brava Beach. It is also known as either Monumento al Ahogado (Monument to the Drowning Man), Los Dedos (The Fingers), or Hombre emergiendo a la vida (Man Emerging into Life). In English, its popular name is The Hand.”
It has become a symbol for Punta del Este since its completion and in turn has become one of Uruguay’s most recognizable landmark.
The sculpture was made by Mario Irarrázabal 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.
“While Irarrázabal 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 Irarrázabal’s continues to sit on the beach today, not having left its original spot, and remaining largely untouched. It gained Irarrázabal 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), the Mano del Desierto (Hand of the Desert) in the Atacama Desert in Chile (1992), and in Venice (1995).”
If I think back that we were considering skipping Punta del Este, as it’s too time consuming and we had other plans too during our South American trip… and then we would have missed these places… well, I’m so happy that finally we changed our minds!
Beautiful Casapueblo by Carlos Páez Vilaró:
Casapueblo is a building constructed by the Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. It is located in Punta Ballena, 13 kilometres from Punta del Este. We took a regular bus to get there from the main bus station of Punta Del Este. Approx 30 minutes ride and then 20 minutes more of walking on the Carlos Páez Vilaró Boulevard – beautiful path – and you can arrive.
It was originally a summer house and workshop of the artist. It now houses a museum, an art gallery, a cafeteria and a hotel. It was the permanent residence of its creator, where he worked and spent his last days.
“It pays tribute to his son Carlos Miguel, one of the seventeen Uruguayan survivors of the crash of Uruguayan 571 Air Force Flight. The flight crashed in the Andes on October 13, 1972.” In Montevideo it’s worth to visit the related Museo Andes 1972, that explains the story very well.
It was built around a wooden house made with planks found on the coast, called La Pionera (The Pioneer), by Carlos Páez Vilaró. Although the style can be compared with the houses of the Mediterranean coast of Santorini, the artist often evoked the nest of the hornero, a bird typical to Uruguay, when discussing the style of construction. The building, which took 36 years to complete, has thirteen floors with staggered terraces that allow one to have optimal views of sunset on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 🌅