Friendly warning: Some of the images below might be considered graphic.
Brazil’s Flavia Carvalho found her talent for tattooing later in life, but she’s making the most of it. Her project, “A Pele da Flor” (The Skin of the Flower), aims to help women cover up and transform scars from domestic abuse into something beautiful, meaningful, and hopeful.
Scars and tattoos have a few things in common: they evoke memories and emotions, they draw attention, and they don’t go away on their own. Ever. It’s easy to say that scars are a part of you, that they remind you of what you survived. But for many, scars are constant reminders of pain and trauma. And when those scars come from domestic abuse, they can be especially haunting. That’s where the power of tattoos can help.Brazil’s Flavia Carvalho found her talent for tattooing later in life, but she’s making the most of it. Her project, “A Pele da Flor” (The Skin of the Flower), aims to help women cover up and transform scars from domestic abuse into something beautiful, meaningful, and hopeful. The name comes from a Portuguese expression, “A flor da pele” (deeper than skin), which Flavia says “alludes to the fact that all of us women are like flowers and deserve to have our skin protected and embellished.” She provides the tattoos free of charge. All it “costs” is the time to come up with a design—which will be unique and never repeated—and the time in the chair.
The Skin of the Flower began when a woman approached Flavia about covering up a long, rough scar on her abdomen. She explained that her scar came from an evening out in a nightclub. When she rejected the advances of a man who approached her, he pulled out a switchblade and stabbed her.
“When she saw the finished tattoo, she was extremely moved, and that deeply touched me.”
“Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster.” Flavia has transformed scars from a broken glass stab wound into a playful Catwoman.
This tattoo below belongs to a woman who’s boyfriend stabbed her in the street. Her tattoo covers up the scar with a bright splash of color, a defiant wolf, and a woman at peace.
Shot by her former boyfriend, this woman’s bullet wound scar disappears into a beautiful cherry blossom.
Flavia has been working with the local government and police to reach out to survivors of domestic violence more directly and hopefully expand The Skin of the Flower!
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