A dystopian sculpture is looming over Wellington, New Zealand, casting an ominous shadow. On Monday, a giant hand with a face was installed on top of Wellington’s City Gallery, carried in by a helicopter. Created in 2016 by Ronnie van Hout, the artwork was originally located on top of the Christchurch Art Gallery. Now, it’s on loan to Wellington (definitely not because Christchurch was trying to get rid of it). The sculpture is 16 feet high, weighs a whopping 880 pounds, and the relocation operation cost $47,000.
The sculpture is named “Quasi” after Quasimodo from Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. According to van Hout, it was named after Quasimodo because “it’s a human form that’s not quite human as well. The idea of something that resembles a human but is not quite human.”
Unsurprisingly, people have mixed opinions about the giant hand. Users on social are saying the sculpture bears an uncanny resemblance to Donald Trump and Thing from The Addams Family. Some observers claim that the hand is disturbing and makes them deeply uncomfortable. One Facebook user wrote, “So glad it’s gone from Christchurch!” Another wrote, “Big ups to the artist for creating something unique and having it on public display but this hand is the stuff of nightmares.”
Others, however, are more positive. “I love it, personally,” said one hand admirer on Facebook. “The people who hate it are incredibly boring.”
For some reason, this feels like just the beginning of the hand controversy.