Photo: The hands can be seen as supporting or pulling down on the historic Ca' Sagredo Hotel. (Supplied: Lorenzo Quinn)
A pair of giant hands rising from the water have been unveiled on Venice's Grand Canal — a sculpture by contemporary artist Lorenzo Quinn intended to highlight the devastation of climate change.The artwork, titled Support, shows two huge hands emerging from the canal to "support" the historic Ca' Sagredo Hotel in such a way that they appear to be preventing the 14th-century building from sinking into the water.
But the hands can also be seen as powerful enough to dismantle and drag down the building, should they choose to — a dual representation intended to represent the power of human beings "to love, to hate, to create, to destroy," Quinn said.
"At once, the sculpture has both a noble air as well as an alarming one … the hands symbolise tools that can both destroy the world, but also have the capacity to save it," a statement on his website reads.
Support was unveiled to coincide with the opening of the 2017 Venice Biennale, a major art show held in locations across the city.
But the choice of city was intentional for Quinn.
Earlier this year scientists warned that Venice could disappear underwater within a century if sea levels continue to rise.
"The work generates an instinctive and immediate understanding of the environmental impact for places such as Venice," the statement reads.
"The hands symbolise the role people must play in supporting Venice's unique world heritage."
Photo: Scientists warn Venice could disappear underwater within a century. (Supplied: Lorenzo Quinn)
The hands in Support were modelled on those of Quinn's son, Anthony.
"This sculpture … wants to speak to the people in a clear, simple and direct way through the innocent hands of a child," Quinn wrote on Instagram.
"It evokes a powerful message which is that united we can make a stand to curb the climate change that affects us all."We must all collectively think of how we can protect our planet."
Quinn made the hands — which each weigh more than 2,200 kilograms — in his Barcelona studio before they were brought to Venice to be installed in the Grand Canal.
Support will be on display until November 26.