The professional career of Sophie de Oliveira Barata started with making realistic-looking artificial limbs for amputees. After setting up the Alternative Limb project she produced prosthetics including legs equipped with music speakers and covered with crystals – and a forearm with a fake snake coiled around it.
Because De Oliveira Barata had an artistic background – she studied special-effects prosthetics for film at the University of the Arts London – she found herself wondering what sort of limb she would want. She thought of the cartoon character Inspector Gadget and decided to look for amputees “who might want something different”.
Merging the latest technology with traditional crafts, Sophie’s creations explore themes of body image, modification, evolution and transhumanism, whilst promoting positive conversations around disability and celebrating body diversity.
She also collaborates with other artists – designers, laser-cutters, metal, plastic, and wood workers – in order to maximize the potential for a unique prosthetic.
Warm and creative, she seems to combine an artistic sensibility with innate people skills. And one of the aspects she most enjoys about her job is meeting her clients.
Among others, she has designed limbs for model and singer-songwriter Viktoria Modesta and athlete Jo-Jo Cranfield.
All Images © Sophie de Oliveira Barat