John Amanam is a sculptor and prosthetic artist from Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria. He is the founder and CEO of Immortal Cosmetic Art.
He used to be a movie special effects artist before launching Immortal Cosmetic Art. Amanam’s invention, which includes prosthetic hands, legs, fingers, toes, ears, noses, and breasts, is so unique that he registered a patent for it in Nigeria last year. His work, which has delighted many Africans, does, however, have a backstory.
According to him, he was born an artist. “Art is hereditary for me”, Amanam said in an interview with Ventures Africa. “My grandparents were artists, and so was my father. I come from a family of artists, so it runs through our blood.”
“But that wasn’t enough for John. He wanted to study arts to become a professional. Ironically, his art-savvy parents did not consent. “My parents did not want me to study arts because they did not believe the profession was lucrative at the time,” he said. “That led me to study philosophy, but I only did it for two years before switching to arts.”
Amanam had always wanted to be an artist. But he had no idea he would one day become a prosthetic innovator. “I never thought of producing prostheses in my life until I had a problem”.
“My brother had an accident that led to amputation. Then we tried to import a prosthesis for him, but they were all white skin tones. I somehow thought black prostheses were already in vogue. Or that there was someone else or some other company making them”.
“I thought maybe I just couldn’t find them. Took the decision to make one for him myself. I started researching and then became passionate about prostheses. Before then, I did not know black prostheses were not on the market. It was after I started getting calls and recommendations that I knew I was the only one doing it.”