When I heard about Flavia Carvalho and her Projeto A Pele da Flor (The Skin of the Flower Project), I immediately knew I wanted to write about her. I have two very large scars on my body, one down my chest and the other across my back. Luckily, I’ve never felt too much shame around them, but all of my life, people have been eager to ask me questions about them, forcing me to recount their back stories. In some ways, I understand the questions; it’s natural to be curious about things that appear so unnatural. However, as a girl, I often felt exhausted and sometimes even offended by the questions. Who are you to ask me about such a personal part of my body? Why would you assume you have the right to know?
Since reaching adulthood and becoming more sure of my personal identity, I have thought about doing something that might show people that these scars are mine, reclaim them as my own, make them into something beautiful that perhaps might be more enjoyable for me to talk about because it was my choice. Maybe a tattoo is the answer? This is exactly what Flavia Carvalho is doing for women through her Projeto A Pele da Flor.
Two years ago, Carvalho had a client who wanted to cover up a scar on her abdomen. The woman’s scar was a result of domestic violence, and this inspired Carvalho to use her skills to help other women. Carvalho told The Huffington Post about her client’s story and how it changed her.
“She told me that she was at a nightclub, and when she turned down a man who approached her, he stabbed her with an switchblade. When she saw the finished tattoo, she was extremely moved, and that deeply touched me. I was suddenly struck by the idea of providing free tattoos to women who were left with scars following domestic violence. Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster.”
In order to spread domestic violence awareness, Carvalho shares before and after photos (with permission from clients) of the scars and tattoos on her Facebook. The results are moving and inspiring. It takes a true artists to be able to look into such pain and help others find beauty. Art as empowerment, what a stunning idea. Take a look.
Images via Flavia Carvalho’s Facebook
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