Today’s prosthetics seem geared toward white and lighter skin tones — if they even look “human” in the first place — but one Nigerian artist is looking to change that.
John Amanam is a 32-year-old former movie special effects expert who has a passion for sculpting. A native of Nigeria, Amanam became fascinated with prosthetics after a close family member lost one of their limbs in a tragic accident.
“I became emotional about amputees,” Amanam said to Reuters. “They had this feeling of discomfort whenever they were around other people. 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. I just want them to feel at home and be whole, aesthetically.”
As a result, Amanam says that his customers feel a sense of relief and gratitude.
The Nigerian artist started making prosthetic fingers, hands, arms, legs, and ears in 2017. He said that, as a general rule, it can take a few months to develop a proper prosthetic to suit the customer’s needs. And despite the fact that he had no formal training to make prosthetics, he’s found himself in the midst of a quickly-booming industry in the Nigerian market.
When he’s not changing people’s lives for the better, Amanam is running the Immortal Gallery, where he shares his true passion: his sculptures.
But thanks to the success of these prosthetics, the Nigerian artist has also created Immortal Cosmetic Art as an offshoot. And he says that he wants other Black artists in Africa to be inspired by his story.
“You rarely find people with black skin prosthetics,” he said. “I want this need to be met within Africa. I want to reach out to blacks all over the world as well, by making this process accessible, at an affordable rate.”