Michael Sunday is overwhelmed and delighted, as he admires his new right hand: a silicone glove-like prosthetic meant to help him return to normal life after he lost three fingers in a car accident a year ago.
The prosthetic has a hyper-realistic feel and, unusually, is dark in colour, matching perfectly the tone of Sunday’s skin.
“It has really helped me because I can go about my normal life without looking at my hand without hiding my hands or fear of discrimination or pity,” said Sunday who didn’t want his identity revealed on camera said.
His voice choked with emotion, as he looked at the prosthetic for the first time.
The 22-year-old student lost the thumb and fourth and fifth fingers on his right hand when the car he was riding in with his parents on December 31, 2018, collided with another vehicle.
The artist behind the creation is John Amanam, a 32-year-old former movie special effects expert. He developed an interest in prosthetics after a family member lost a limb in an accident.
“I became emotional about the amputees, I discovered I had one or two people who had amputations and they had this feeling of discomfort whenever they were around normal people and I saw it as a challenge that if I could give back or solve this need it will go a long way to ease them of that emotional trauma of discomfort and that loss of courage,” said Amanam.
“I just want them to feel at home and be whole, aesthetically,” he added.
So he started making prosthetic fingers, hands, arms, legs, and ears in 2017. Depending on the size and complexity of the prosthetic, it takes three weeks to two months to make one.
His company, Immortal Cosmetic Art, is part of a growing services industry that has helped Nigeria’s economy become the biggest in Africa.
To prepare Sunday’s hand, he took measurements, made a plaster cast and mixed paints on a palette, as any artist would, searching for the right skin tone. The result was lifelike.
“We have prosthetics made of white skin. You rarely find people with black skin prosthetics, so I want the blacks. I want Africa to have a feel, to be closer to have this need solved within Africa. I want to reach out to blacks all over the world as well so we can have this process, accessible and at an affordable rate,” said Amanam.
Sunday, who covers a slight seam between the silicone glove and his forearm with a watch bearing a wide wristband, is certainly a satisfied customer.