Skooter reporting 08/29/12
Artificial appendages or prosthetics can change the life of an amputee. But when an old limb is of no use, it no longer fits or just gets worn out, it can be difficult to part ways with an item that had been aiding you for so long, offering you a chance to jump, dance or simply walk.
There is one that has a solution, Priscilla Sutton turned these "pre-loved" limbs into artwork. Sutton is an Australian curator and came up with "Spare Parts London," an exhibition of modified prosthetics that has opened in time for the Paralympics, which start Wednesday in London.
Sutton, a below-the-knee amputee recalled that there was a time, she was cleaning her home and she found two old legs in her cupboard. She thought it was a bit crazy to keep hoarding her legs.
The exhibition, which includes works by artists from Britain, Australia, the United States and Japan, comes as people are paying new attention to the devices.
Public awareness of prosthetics has been amplified by the well-known double amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the South African known as the "Blade Runner." The showing will showcase the "Cheetah" the carbon fiber running leg Pistorius uses that has a flex foot designed to duplicate the hind leg of the fastest animal on land.
The show also exhibits arms and legs dangling from the ceiling and others in glass cabinets. One British artist Rachel Ball displays a little girl’s leg topped with colorful crochet and painted with henna on the foot to emphasize the original owner’s personality.
The 33-year-old Sutton has garnered prosthetics donated by amputees, their families or health services all over the world.
Owners replace their prosthetics for a number of reasons, either due to wear and tear or weight fluctuations.
Sutton expects the art show will show the way to an open discussion about prosthetics, however others argue there are better uses for them. Penny Broomhead, a physiotherapist specializing in rehabilitation for amputees said that it seems a strange way to showcase it and suggested that people should look at it in a more practical point of view. She thinks a better use for discarded prosthetic appendages would be to send them to developing countries, where their components could possibly provide prosthetics to those who can’t afford to have one.
This is the second time Sutton’s "Spare Parts London" has used legs and arms as artwork, after a 2010 show on the same theme in Brisbane, Australia.
Sutton was born without a fibula in her right leg and she allowed the doctors to chop it off..
She has two "spare parts:" An "everyday" leg topped with a design by American pop surrealist artist Marc Ryden and a sports leg that shows a conservative Japanese print with gold flowers and cherries.