Brazilian tattoo artist Flavia Carvalho has come up with a way to mask the physical scars that life leaves on us. Through a project she calls “A Pele da Flor” (The Skin of the Flower), Carvalho is changing the lives of women in Brazil by giving them tattoos free of charge to cover up their old scars.
When Carvalho is inking “A Pele da Flor” designs, she uses the scar tissue of her customers to create works of art, so that old mastectomy scars become garlands of flowers and healed wounds from knifings become regal creatures such as lions, as images on Facebook show.
Carvalho said she got the idea of turning scars– something most people see as ugly– into something beautiful when she was tattooing a customer who had been assaulted by a stranger.
“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,” Carvalho said to the Huffington Post. “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 or mastectomies. Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster.”
In addition to giving the women she has worked with something beautiful to look at instead of scar tissue, Carvalho’s free tattoo project is also raising awareness in Brazil concerning domestic violence and violence towards women.