Great things, it is said, are not accomplished by those who yield to trends, fads and what are in vogue. In a world where artists produce artworks merely for the purpose of admiration, a Nigerian artist, John Amanam, has dared to be different by using his craft to solve a real-life problem.
A graduate of fine and industrial art from the University of Uyo, Amanan hails from Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. He is a creative sculptor with myriad of mind-blowing oeuvres to his credit. Apparently borne out of his avidity to add value to lives, he recently launched his hypa-realistic prosthesis for people who have lost their body parts.
The inventive artist, who is the first Nigerian to produce this cosmetic art, while speaking with this reporter, said that he could make a replica of any lost body part ranging from ears, nose, arms, fingers to toes and even legs. According to him, he also makes artificial hair for bald persons.
He also said that he matches any skin colour to suit his clients’ specifications.
“Art has been my passion. I am always not satisfied; I am always trying to discover things that other people have not done to solve people’s problems. I do a lot of researches and they have led me to many great pieces. This cosmetic art is my latest discovery.
“Though this product is still subject to improvement, so far, it is medically approved for patients who are in need of body part replacements. I have been to many hospitals and the product has been highly accepted because the materials used in producing it are also medically-approved,” he said.
It costs between $10,000 and $100,000 to get prosthetic limbs anywhere in the world, but according to Amanam, his clients can pay as low as N250,000 to get his artificial legs or arms and a paltry sum of N35,000 for other minor body parts that look and feel exactly like a real human body.
While noting that the process of coming up with the prosthesis was direly tedious, Amanam disclosed that the inspiration for the invention came from a cousin of his who is an amputee.
He said “I have a cousin who happens to be my major inspiration. He lost his fingers and I was just thinking of ways to help him as a sculptor. I have molded human beings severally in the course of my career. Why can’t I mold something that can actually be implanted in a human body? I began my research and by God’s grace, I discovered this.”
The young inventor said that, in the course of creating awareness, he had met with a number of amputees whose hopes, he said, were restored by the emergence of his invention.
Recounting his challenges, Amanam said he spent huge amounts of money for several months before he could get a breakthrough for his product. According to him, all materials used for the job were imported.
“I would say it was not easy. I remember I wasted a lot of my personal money while researching for many months. I failed and failed till I was completely broke. I didn’t give up; I had to borrow money from someone to continue the research. I was too convinced that I could do this.
“I ordered for machines that did not get delivered at the stipulated time. When they finally arrived, I could not use them because they were highly sensitive machines. Some even spoilt. Some times I had to go back to the company and ask for direction on how to use them. Thank God that all the efforts I put in to this have yielded fruits now,” he said.
Mr. Solomon Ekpo, whose leg was lost to an accident, while speaking with this reporter, expressed elation over the invention, saying that it has brought hope to people like himself.
“My leg was amputated this year after I had an accident that destroyed my leg. My doctor said the leg had to be cut off to avoid the infection from spreading. I have been disturbed about how life would be without a limb; but now that this product is here, I have hope,” he said.
John Amanam intends to open a factory in Akwa Ibom State from where he would produce the prosthesis in large quantity for exportation to other countries. For him, it may not be an easy journey, but with the right support from government and well meaning Nigerians, his dream can come true faster than he envisages.
Reach John Amanam on: 0813 570 2056