A Game of Charades: Hands Full of Expression

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:

Vogue; fashion; tear sheets; magazine

Richard Avedon, [Hand with long sleeved blouse in front of black hair], ca. 1968 (2151.2005)

Hands in Science:


Gary SchneiderGenetic Self-Portrait, 1997 (802.2000.2)

The photograph above, a forensic image of the artist’s hand, is part of contemporary photographer Gary Schneider‘s Genetic Self-Portrait series.

Hands in Politics:


Sheng QiMemories (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.”

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