Hands play an important role in communication. Besides being an effective way of language without vocalizing–through signing and gesturing–hands can be quite versatile.
Hands in Fashion:
Richard Avedon, [Hand with long sleeved blouse in front of black hair], ca. 1968 (2151.2005)
Hands in Science:
Gary Schneider, Genetic Self-Portrait, 1997 (802.2000.2)
Hands in Politics:
Sheng Qi, Memories (Me), 2000 (7.2004)
Chinese photographer Sheng Qi, a contemporary of Ai Weiwei, documents his own political struggles; in 1989, in protest at the Tiananmen Square massacre he chopped off his little finger and buried it in a porcelain flowerpot in Beijing.
Sheng Qi stated in the December 14, 2012 edition of The Independent:
“It was about 10 years later when I finally realised–so after I had many years of art training–that my left hand, without the finger, has become part of my identity, it is a unique performance.”