Living with amputation can be very challenging. Not many people understand how it can feel that when they see an amputee, they keep staring. The feeling of loss that comes with it and for people that were not born that way, having to relearn how to do things differently. Amputees also struggle with acceptance in society.
The prosthetics market greatly excludes Africans. An estimate of 30 million people live with amputated limbs and only 5% have access to prosthetic limbs and even worse, the darker skin tones are being ignored in global production. Due to the darker skin tones being ignored, some Africans have resulted in using prosthetics that do not match their skin tones.
John Amanam is a Nigerian sculptor and prosthetic artist who founded Immortal Cosmetic Art, he is bridging this gap by creating hyper-realistic prostheses for darker skin tones.
He is from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. He used to be a movie special effects artist. He creates prosthetic hands, legs, fingers, toes, ears, noses and breasts. For him, art goes beyond crafts and passion; art is hereditary to him.
He studied philosophy for two years before switching to arts. He always knew he wanted to be an artist but was not aware that he would one day become a prosthetic designer.
His inspiration was his brother who had an accident that led to an amputation. He could not find a dark skin tone for his brother so he did his research and with his artistic skills he designed one for his brother.
Soon after this, he started getting calls demanding for the prosthetics. He saw that his solution had high demand and no supply, his compassion and entrepreneurial spirit made him rise to the occasion. He said being the single solution to a Pan African problem is great but it is also a tremendous responsibility. This has captured the attention of the international press.