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10th October 2016

Boldly Beautiful: Turning scars into works of art

The beauty of survival is encapsulated through mastectomy tattoos

Some of the most beautiful artwork I have seen has not been displayed in galleries or featured in sculpture parks, but instead has adorned the bodies of women who have had mastectomies. More and more women are choosing to turn their scars into works of art; choosing to take back control of their bodies and in doing so creating something uniquely beautiful.

A US organisation dedicated to empowering women, P.Ink, aims to “connect breast cancer survivors with tattoo artists who can provide a form of healing that no one else can”. The art on their portfolio, although individually designed for each woman, features mandalas, floral patterns, and birds with open wings. They are colourful and bold, and are so much more than ink on the skin.

Whether you are a fan of tattoo artwork or not, nobody can argue that this type of artwork is truly inspirational.

In collaboration with tattooist Shane Wallin, of Mastectomy Tattoo, artist Erena Shimoda takes the artwork one step further by photographing these women underwater as part of a campaign that aims to heal emotional scars and improve women’s confidence. The images are powerful and feminine. They are dynamic in a way that is positive and life affirming.

I think we can all agree that the ‘tittoo’ phenomenon is another example of how art can be so much more than a picturesque painting or perfect sculpture; it can be an embodiment of beauty on the most remarkable of canvases.

For more information of Erena Shimoda and her incredible work, visit her website here. 

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