A Nigerian sculptor is out to boost the confidence of Black amputees, one prosthesis at a time.
John Amanam‘s creations are not your ordinary prostheses, however. His innovative designs offer a hyper-realistic, natural feel. They’re also dark in color, making them a perfect match for Black folks who’ve lost their limbs.
Before now, the fake limbs available across Nigeria had been largely white and made from materials like wood, according to Reuters. That’s why local student Michael Sunday was pleasantly surprised when his new glove-like, silicone hand fit like a charm.
“I have my fingers back,” Sunday told the outlet. The 22-year-old said the prosthesis has given him a sense of normalcy after he lost his thumb, pinky and ring finger in a car accident last year.
“It’s really helped me because I can go about my normal life without looking at my hand, without hiding my hands or fear of discrimination, fear of pity,” he added.
Amanam, 32, has been making prosthetic arms, legs, fingers and hands for almost three years now. The former movie special effects expert has zero formal training in prosthesis-making but picked up the craft after a family member lost a limb in an accident, Reuters reports.
“I became emotional about amputees,” he said.
“They had this feeling of discomfort whenever they were around other people,” Amanam added, noting the rarity of dark-skinned prostheses. “I saw it as a challenge. If I could give back or solve this need, it would go a long way to ease that emotional trauma and loss of confidence.”
Through his company, Immortal Cosmetic Art, the expert sculptor said he hopes to meet the needs of Black/African amputees across the globe. His innovative creations are also part of a growing services industry that’s had a positive impact on Nigeria’s economy.
Amanam’s pieces currently sell for about 40,000 naira (about $111) and can take anywhere from three weeks to two months to complete.
The artist said he just wants amputees to “feel at home and be whole, aesthetically.”
“I want this need to be met within Africa,” Amanam added. “I want to reach out to blacks all over the world as well, by making this process accessible, at an affordable rate.”
Watch more in the video below.