Thousands of asylum-seekers wanting to settle in a European country of their choice are resorting to mutilating their fingers with oil, fire, acid or razors. Cancelling a part of one’s unique corporal identity, annulling a specific trait of skin, in order to realise a dream, is another dramatic confirmation of man’s will to survive.

The practice, a form of ‘beneficial self-mutilation’, is growing especially among those travelling from Africa to reach north-European countries, such as Germany and Sweden. In order to arrive in the country of choice without trace, the practice offers a chance to start afresh without running the risk of being identified.

Since 2003 European Union law obliges member countries in which immigrants arrive for the first time to take within 24 hours fingerprints and deposit these in the Eurodac database. In Sweden since 2003, 5% of all 26,000 fingerprints taken from new arrivals have been deemed useless, non-identifiable, for the purposes of personal identification.
The hands are made of wax and mold was made possible by asking permission to immigrants living temporarily in Italy, waiting to be transferred. The mold perfectly true to the original, takes all the imperfections caused by the acid and the boiling oil that have inflicted two men, father and son, the actual hands for the crudity of the image and privacy of this family rights are not shown .

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