By REBECCA WALD
Italian artist Vincenzo Aiello has made what he says is the first-ever recreation of the male foreskin. Calling it an art piece, he’s offering these ultra-realistic sculptures of “HuFo” to backers of his Kickstarter crowd-funding effort.
The purpose of the campaign, which seems well on track to meet its $40,000 goal, is to raise awareness about the human foreskin. Circumcision proponents claim the foreskin is “just a little piece of skin,” but Aiello’s sculptures demonstrate just how much tissue the adult foreskin comprises.
“HuFo” is made of a flexible silicon resin, so it can be wrapped around a model of the glans penis to accurately demonstrate how the foreskin attaches and functions. This information is sorely lacking in places where infants are routinely circumcised. As a consequence, even some medical professionals don’t understand the natural anatomy.
In my mind, “HuFo” isn’t very practical at $1000 per sculpture (yes, that’s the price to get one of your very own). Nevertheless, the campaign is an awesome way to get the word out about the function of the foreskin, which is why I decided to back the campaign for a much more modest amount. Having done a Kickstarter myself, I know just how time consuming and expensive it is to put together a decent campaign and fulfill rewards, so while some might balk at Aiello’s $40,000 goal, I don’t think it’s out of line.
In the future, I would love to see reasonably priced foreskin models along the lines of “HuFo.” I think this could be readily and inexpensively accomplished with plastic injection molding. These models could then be used by doctors, midwifes, and educators in a variety of settings, to give a hands on and accurate portrayal of the natural male anatomy. Perhaps this is what Aiello ultimately has in mind. I certainly hope so!
Aiello, who isn’t a medical professional, is the president of Foregen, an organization he started “to research and implement regenerative medical therapies for circumcised males.” To what degree Foregen will play a role in bringing about such regenerative techniques remains to be seen. Regardless, the artist’s “HuFo” is certainly a great step forward in terms of awareness-raising.