There are many traditional monuments and statues that you can find in almost any town or city in the world. But what about the ones that appear to have departed completely from the convention?
Here are a few of the most interesting and unusual sculptures that are found around the world.
A giant cement hand standing right in the middle of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, the La Mano del Desierto or the 'the Hand of the Desert' has many tourists coming from all over the world to get a glimpse of this unusual sculpture.
The sculpture was built as a remembrance to those who were victims of the tyranny of the Army regime in Chile. More than 25 years ago, the city of Antofagasta, the isolated centre of Chile's copper mining industry asked Santiago sculptor Mario Irarrázabal to create a monument to the emptiness of the Atacama Desert.
Just like it is for other artistic creations there are various interpretations behind it. One version is that this sculptor is a reminder that man is nothing in front of nature and the five elements of Earth. Another version is that this is a reminder that man has conquered the world. Some consider this as a symbol of man’s helplessness and vulnerability.
Shuttlecocks in Kansas City
The grounds of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City is like a mini Alice in Wonderland. Four larger-than-life shuttlecocks adorn the lush, green lawn of the art museum grounds. The oversized birdies are now a beloved icon of both the museum and the city. The artists found their inspiration for the sculptures by combining images of Native American headdresses featured in a painting on display in the museum and the tennis court feel of the green space surrounding the Beaux-Arts building. Husband and wife duo, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, constructed their pop art sculptures of aluminium and fibreglass-reinforced plastic. Although each shuttlecock weighs nearly 2,270 kilos and is nearly 20 feet (6 meters) tall, they look as lightweight as an actual birdie.
Giant Vegreville Egg in Alberta
You can’t miss this giant Ukrainian style Easter egg at this tiny of Vegreville Alberta. It was constructed to pay tribute to the large Ukrainian settlements in the Alberta region of Canada and also to the 1975 centennial of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Monumento al Mate Chile
This monument about 3 m in height, representing a big hand and a mate cup has to be one of the weirdest monuments at Monumento al Mate. It’s located in the small town of Coyhaique, Patagonia, Chile. Drinking mate (which is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink made by soaking dried leaves of the holly species Ilex paraguariensis in hot water and is served with a metal straw in a container typically made from a calabash gourdes) an important part of Chilean tradition and was quite popular in the 19th century among the Gauchos (Patagonian cowboys). The monument was placed there in honour of the first people (pioneers) that inhabited this rough region in the south of Chile.
Darvaza: The Gates of Hell
Imagine a gigantic hole in the middle of the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, with flames coming out of it? In 1971, geologists were looking for oil in the Karakum desert. At some point, they thought they had found some and started drilling. But the ground was fragile, and it created a huge hole, and it was releasing a lot of methane, so the geologists decided to burn the methane. And what was supposed to burn for a few weeks, is still burning today! Very few people go to Turkmenistan but those who do, usually want to see Darvaza!
Peeing statues in Prague
Near Prague’s, Old Town Square up to the castle is a museum to Franz Kafka where, in the courtyard, you’ll find two unique statues, the Piss Scultures created by the provocative Czech artist David Černý. These statues are fountains in the usual sort where water is peed from the sculpted figures into a pool. Not only is peeing into a pool shaped like the country of Czechia odd but even more unique is how the statues move at the waist and spell out literary quotes in the pool.
Bronze Breast in Amsterdam
Though the artist is unknown, the choice of the place is infamous worldwide. This bronze breast being caressed by a male hand lies among the cobblestones in the Red-Light District of Amsterdam. It lies between the sex workers and Amsterdam’s oldest church. Interestingly the doctor, who designed this artwork in his (or her) free time, chose to remain anonymous. But while wandering through the streets of this liberal area, be sure to look for some Easter Eggs like this one.
World’s largest rubber stamp in Willard Park
The Free Stamp, also known as the world’s largest rubber stamp, is a sculpture located in the middle of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It is also a great way to commemorate American history. The stamp was commissioned by Standard Oil of Ohio (now BP) in 1982 and was designed by Claes Oldenburg and his wife Coosje van Bruggen.
Originally the stamp was to stand upright with the words hidden however Oldenburg wanted the message “Free,” representing the emancipation of American slaves during and after the Civil War to be visible. The stamp was also supposed to sit in front of the new Standard Oil of Ohio building however after BP purchased the company, they didn’t want the stamp in front of their BP Tower. BP donated the sculpture to the city of Cleveland in 1991 and it has been located in Willard Park ever since.