© Henriikka Kontimo 2008-2023

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an artist's book
32 pages, 21x10,5cm

The Most Meaningful Thing I Have Ever Used My Hands For is a hand-printed, hand-bound, leather-covered book. It contains 28 anonymous answers to the question “What is the most meaningful thing you ever used your hands for?”.

I asked people I know to answer the question and to send me their anonymous answers to me by mail. When the letters started to arrive, I saw that people had taken the time to come up with personal, honest, funny, and touching answers. I feel privileged that people did this for my work.

Of most of the answers I still don't know to whom these things happened, or whose values they reflect. Most of these people are a part of my everyday life. And even though I don't know more about them as before as individuals, I know them now more intimately as a group.

Thank you to all the participants for your answers.

Here are the answers.

I have made mayonnaise.
I have delivered a baby.
I have set a Christmas dinner table for my loved ones.
I have caressed my spouse.
I have taken care of cattle.
I have cut my son's umbilical cord.
I have touched breasts.
I have taught my child traditional skills.
I have sown and created new growth.
I have stroked my child's hair and consoled him in moments of sadness.
I have held my dying husband in my arms.
I have touched my lover for the first time.
I have helped a person who could not move her own hands.
I have drawn.
I have petted an old cat.
I have dressed my dead mother in her own clothes for her funeral.
I have packed my former life into cardboard boxes.
I have written a news cable about hundreds of thousands of refugees in despair.
I have masturbated.
I have prevented myself from falling off a roof.
I have said goodbye to my dead father.
I have written my first scholarly article.
I have warmed up a sauna just for myself.
I have written an apology.
I have touched people I didn't know before.
I have held and let go.
I have turned pages.
I have applauded a lot.