Wanted: Manicure For The Right Hand


When life still isn’t going to plan, sometimes you just need other people to get you through it. A nail cutting experience, a cry for help, an act of care.

On my last day of being thirty-four I sat on a bridge in the centre of São Paulo and waited for someone to cut the nails on my right hand. My husband at the time had just walked out; and he’d taken the nail clippers with him. As I had no one to cut my nails at home and the nail scissors could only be used by a right hand, I went out into the city to see if someone would help. I sat amongst umbrella sellers and fortune tellers, each of us with our wares set out in front of us.

This piece of work was commissioned by my mum, who for my birthday had sent me some money to get my nails done. This paid for Alicia Esteves to photograph the piece. Thanks to Leda Cartum, who translated this text into Portuguese. Photos by Alicia Esteves. It was shown at Manchester Open and Spit at HOME Manchester and as part of Spit That Out NW artist film screening programme in 2020.