Beauty Not Merely Skin Deep

After being approached by a client who had suffered a brutal stabbing at the hands of a man whom she’d rejected, Flavia Carvalho a Brazilian tattoo artist, founded a heart-warming project called A Pele da Flor (or The Skin of the Flower). The lady who approached her had scars on her abdomen from the stabbing and longed for something beautiful to be made of it. Flavia was so touched by the gratitude of the woman after the masterwork was completed that it struck her how many women she could help in similar situations. Huffington Post caught up with Flavia in 2015 and so began the
intense media coverage worldwide of such a wonderful venture.

A Pele da Flor is specifically in existence to provide free tattoos to women who have suffered at the hands of domestic abuse or have had mastectomies. And the work Flavia does with these women’s scars is indeed beautiful and inspiring. Flavia says she has done work for women all over Brazil as well as abroad and the stories she was told in those first consultations have been truly horrendous.

She loves being able to journey with women from walking through the door to her studio with a weight on their shoulders and grotesque scars, to crying with them and sharing their hurt and then to seeing them smile again, proud to show their bodies off after the transformation. She says she follows a number of the women on Facebook and is so touched by the photos she is now privy to: women who are proud to wear bikinis and dresses and are graced with smiles where there was once intense hurt and shame. The background to the project’s name is in Flavia’s belief that all women should be treated like flowers where their skin is ‘protected and embellished’.

When asked of the future of the project and her passions, Flavia says she would love to help as many people as she can. As of yet, no other tattoo artists have put their hand up to participate in the project but Flavia is excited about partnering with women’s NGOs in Brazil as well as being a part of women’s festivals. The deeper intention of Flavia’s is to raise awareness through the project about domestic abuse to women and the scars they bear as a result. In addition to this, Flavia transforms mastectomy scars and intends to be present at Pink Ribbon festivals to ensure her message is heard. Flavia says she is also inspired to continue by the sense of affection and camaraderie she witnesses from the women she helps. She is privileged to see people transformed however is realistic about the scope of the project which is ‘a grain of sand. The world is full of things which
need to be addressed. We have a long way to go regarding protecting women against violence.’

Flavia has a Facebook page where she posts the before and after photos of the women and includes the stories behind the scars.

 
  Nicola Johnson - CONTRIBUTOR

Nicola Johnson - CONTRIBUTOR