We’re given so much in this life, so whenever we’re able to give a little back, it’s an amazing feeling. Whether it’s singing for seniors, knitting blankets for shelter animals, or building houses for communities in need, using our talents to make a difference in the lives of others is a truly special feeling. So when Brazilian Flavia Carvalho realized she could put her tattooing talents to good use covering scars, she decided to dedicate a year to giving back. Carvalho started a project called “A Pele Da Flor,” or “Deeper Than Skin” in Portuguese, with the aim of encouraging women to embrace and love their scars. Some women’s scars were left by cesarean sections or mastectomies, but many more are from victims of domestic violence and other abuse. Scroll down to see before-and-after photos and learn the stories and meaning behind these beautiful, vivid tattoos.
Flavia Carvalho started tattooing victims of violence into order to make a difference in their healing process. She told the Huffington Post:
“It all started about two years ago, when I worked with a client who wanted to cover a large scar on her abdomen. She told me that she was at a nightclub, and when she turned down a man who approached her, he stabbed her with a switchblade. When she saw the finished tattoo, she was extremely moved, and that deeply touched me.”
Unfortunately, many of the stories behind the tattoos that Carvalho gives are similar. Still, Carvalho’s designs give new significance to the scars, which become part of a beautiful, hopeful future.
This tattoo is both deeply symbolic and also represents a challenging chapter in the recipient’s life. The woman who requested this tattoo spent two years living on the streets as an addict. During that time, she encountered unspeakable violence, including the shotgun fire that left this scar. Carvalho turned the woman’s scars into a phoenix, symbolizing rising from the ashes.
The young woman who received this tattoo was shot in the knee by her ex. Carvalho turned the painful memory around by depicting a cute, uplifting owlet.
It’s hard to see a painful past in this joyful scene of birds and flowers. But they cover up the scars of attempted murder. The woman who received this tattoo was stabbed in the stomach and she sustained additional scars from the medical treatments that saved her life.
This women’s scar was the result of a bullet fired at her by her ex-boyfriend. Carvalho cover it with cherry blossoms, which symbolize femininity and new life.
The scars on this woman’s arm came after her boyfriend stabbed her during a drunken rage. While she was in the hospital being treated, he died from alcohol and drug intoxication.
This woman’s long scar was the result of refusing to kiss a man in a night club. When she turned him down, the man stabbed her in the stomach with a switchblade. Once again, Carvalho transformed this woman’s scar so that her body isn’t defined by violence.
Carvalho’s year-long project may be over, but she’s still working tirelessly to help victims of domestic violence.
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