Photo Credit: Flavia Carvalho – Daedra Art & Tattoo/Facebook
Domestic violence not only leaves haunting memories, but also permanent marks. While surgery may help in recovery, scars can be inevitable and often never fully go away. That’s what Brazilian tattoo artist Flavia Carvalho hopes to help with, in her work with domestic violence survivors.
Carvalho’s project, “A Pele da Flor” (The Skin of the Flower) is about giving hurt women tattoos free of charge, helping women cover scars left from knives and bullets, as well as from mastectomies. She effectively transforms what are disturbing mementos into a tool of empowerment and beauty.
“I started the project quite recently, and I had no idea it would receive this much media attention,” Carvalho, who runs a studio in Curitiba, Brazil told Huffington Post. “It began very spontaneously. As I said, my services are a hundred percent voluntary, and the only “cost” women need to invest is to choose a design for their tattoos!”
She started working with abuse victims in 2013 when a woman sought her help in covering up a scar that was left after a man stabbed her for rejecting him at a nightclub. “When she saw the finished tattoo, she was extremely moved, and that deeply touched me,” she explained to the publication.
The feedback she’s gotten from women who were helped by the project has been extremely surprising, Carvalho says, further adding, “The sense of affection, sisterhood and camaraderie is deeper than I ever imagined. They contact me from all over the country, as well as from abroad. They come to the studio, share their stories of pain and resilience, and they show me their scars. Embarrassed, they cry, and hug me. Then we design the tattoo and we schedule the session. They become excited, optimistic. It is wonderful to see how their relationship with their bodies changes after they get the tattoos. I follow many of them on Facebook, and I see how, after being ashamed of their scarred bodies, they now post pictures in dresses, and they look happy, changed. It is transformative.”