The Scar Project SA

 “Embrace the perfection of being imperfectly you.”

The Scar Project SA is a very special passion project by Rose Garnet Photography to bring awareness and encourage self-love and self-acceptance.

We grow up painting the perfect picture for our future; a perfect career, a perfect partner, a perfect body, a perfect life. So often our dreams are shattered; a car accident, heartbreak, a life-threatening illness… things simply don’t always turn out the way we hoped. Regardless if we carry physical or emotional scars, we all have them. How we repair our “wounds” and embrace them is what makes us different and unique.

Berdene Mong | Car Accident
“I made daily lists of things to be grateful for, for that day. ‘One day at a time’ and I reminded myself that I was stronger than what was trying to break me.”

Concepts that the project are based on: “Kintsugi (The Art) Wabi-Sabi (The Philosophy)”

Kintsugi (also known as kintsukuroi) is a Japanese technique for repairing broken pottery with seams of gold. Breaks and repairs are treated as part of the object’s history.  The repairs are visible – yet somehow beautiful. Kintsugi means “golden joinery” in Japanese.

Imperfection is the basic principle of Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy of accepting your imperfections and making the most of life. It encourages us to focus on the blessings hiding in our daily lives, and celebrating the way things are rather than how they should be.

Anonymous | Reconstructive surgery due to childbirth

“Wabi” is said to be defined as “rustic simplicity” or “understated elegance” with a focus on a less-is-more mentality. “Sabi” is translated to “taking pleasure in the imperfect.”

While distilling Wabi-Sabi into a single definition or translation doesn’t do justice to its nuances and fluidity, the broad concepts associated with it are impermanence and imperfection.

“Nobody can go back and start a bew beginning, anybody can start today and make a new ending.”

Anonymous Scar Model
Zaan-Mari Marais | Car Accident
“There’s a purpose with everything that happens in life. Never give up. Self-love and acceptance, with a positive attitude and a little sparkle.”

How do these concepts merge together and how do we embrace it in our daily lives?

In the Scar Project we merge these two concepts and age old practices together to create a visual portraying the acceptance of our imperfections and showing them off as something that has not only become who we are but also something beautiful.

A great example is that of a well-loved teacup, made by an artist’s hands, cracked or chipped by constant use. These cracks in the teacup are seen as assets rather than flaws. It speaks of time that has past, memories it created, history; all aspects that tell the story of the simple old teacup. Then along comes the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi and the art of Kintsugi, where the cracks and chips are filled with gold resin as a way to showcase the beauty of its age and damage rather than hiding it. The fault is not hidden but highlighted. Attention is drawn to the cracks in the teacup as part of the beauty of the object.

The old teacup is now considered to be more beautiful for bearing the mark of age and individuality.

Bronwynn Harris | (Thymectomy) Myasthenia Gravis
“I chose to look at myself as a whole person rather than to focus on the one small thing that is not so perfect about me.”
Anonymous | Neurofibromatosis
“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.”

We as human beings are just like the old teacup. We go through a lot in life. It is unrealistic to expect that life will always be perfect. Even when taking the utmost care, fragile things, such as our favourite cup, will occasionally break. Likewise, we all suffer illness, tragedy and the loss of loved ones. Just like ceramics, life can break apart into a thousand pieces – either emotionally or physically. Life happens.

“I have learnt that beauty is not about looks, make-up or clothes. True beauty comes from being yourself and knowing and accepting who you are.”

Anonymous Scar Model
Anonymous | Accident due to epilepsy
“All things in this world are impermanent. They have the nature to rise and pass away. To be in harmony with this brings true happiness.”
Keith Ahlschlager | Accident
“Just one of many scars to remind me to live every day like it is your last day. Life is too short to regret yesterday.”

Maybe your pain is already in the past or your struggle is not yet over. Maybe you are carrying the pain of a loved one on your shoulders. All this however, should not stop us from living intensely. This is a natural part of life that requires acceptance, respect and appreciation.

Instead of sweeping our problems under the “carpet”, we can put ourselves back together in a way that embraces the challenges we have faced as part of our life’s journey, while acknowledging that it is our scars, either emotional or physical, that make us strong, unique and interesting people.

Kgosi Leballo | Steven-Johnson Syndrome & Tuberculosis
“Do whatever it takes to feed a positive attitude during illness or in carrying your imperfections – because that, and an equally positive environment and support structure is what will carry you through.”
Michael Hamilton | Polycystic Kidney Disease
“Remember what is really important in life. Others may stare at your scar, but take strength from the fact that you are a survivor and your scar shows strength and resiliance.”

“Take the time to mourn your ‘old self’. It is a way of life that is lost and deserves respect before you can build it up again – this time better.”

Bronwynn Harris

What does this mean in practical terms?

Example: Someone who has overcome breast cancer is proudly wearing a swimsuit (Kintsugi) on the beach and showing off her mastectomy scars while accepting (Wabi-Sabi) that they are a part of her history. She was afraid of those scars at first, torn about what had happened to her, angry even, but with time she learned to accept and embrace her scars. Those imperfections are part of her story and show how strong she is.

However, it is important to remember that there is a difference between repairing and patching up. Do not avoid or underestimate what has happened. Instead take all the time that you need to work through it and heal properly. By taking the time to heal in a proper manner reflects in the same way as painting your “broken pieces” with gold. With time it will make you beautiful.

Camryn Josephs-Dramat | Goldenhar Syndrome
“Live in the moment (be present at all times) and treat each day as a new beginning – no matter what happened yesterday.”
Chane Botha | Wegener’s Disease
“Sometimes we can feel overwelmed but we need to accept that it’s okay not to be okay. We can have our bad days, but it’s important to get up strong the next day. A disease is only what you have, it’s not who you are. Always keep fighting.”

According to legend, Kintsugi was invented in the 15th century when shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke his favourite Chinese tea bowl and sent it to China to be repaired. The bowl was returned, fixed, but held together by ugly metal staples. Yoshimasa was appalled by the ugliness of the repair and ordered the craftsman to find a more elegant solution, upon which in return the bowl was repaired with the beautiful gold resin.

Just like the tea bowl, rushing the process will only result in you “falling apart” all over again or healing in a way where you will be unhappy with yourself and the life you live. If we don’t properly take time to repair and reflect on life’s challenges, we are at risk of self-pity and victimization.

Nikiwe Nondabula | Neurofibromatosis
“Primarily, I have learnt to embrace my scars. I used to be quite self-concious about my skin. However, 2015 was when I made the decision to wear my clothes with confidence. Regardless of my current circumstances. I cannot change it, so why not embrace it.”
Skye Paton | Tetralogy of Fallot
“Do not be ashamed to show who you really are. Remember you are an unusual human and no one can take that away from you. Live with it and make it work.”

The past is in the past, it’s important to make plans and move on. Your plans for tomorrow, next month or next year may not unfold as you expect. Life is unpredictable. And that’s okay. Embrace it.

When nothing is certain, everything is possible!

Callum Dunn | Necrotizing Enterocolitis
“Prayer is a powerful weapon. It strengthens your belief & the results restores your belief in miracles.” – Joseline Dunn
Ilze Fourie | Myasthenia Gravis
“It’s a slow process but quitting won’t speed it up. No matter how you feel… get up. dress up, show up and never give up.”

“Embrace the perfection of being imperfectly you.”

“Wabi-Sabi is a way of life that appreciates and accepts complexity while at the same time values simplicity,”

Richard Powell in his book, Wabi Sabi Simple.
Lesley Scott | (Posterior fossa decompression surgery) Chiari Malformation
“Don’t compare yourself to others. Your diagnosis may be the same, but you are a unique individual. Do what works for you.”
Jordyn Peel | Car Accident
“Just because you have a scar/disease does not make you limited to what you can achieve. They are different perfections, not imperfections. That is why you must embrace it and know that you are beautiful.”

In his book The Unknown Craftsman, Soetsu Yanagi argues that imperfections are necessary for a full appreciation of the object and the world.

Suzanne Agenbag | Removal of enlarged thyroid goiter
“As a teenager, it felt like the end of the world. As an adult, I am proud of my scar and being healthy because of it.”

“Wabi-sabi is a different kind of looking, a different kind of mindset. It’s the true acceptance of finding beauty in things as they are.”

Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author of Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House
Ben Rall | Wilms Tumour
“My scar is my normal to me. It’s me!”

Things may not always be as it seems. Don’t judge to quickly. Everyone deals with something that others don’t know about. Take care of each other.

Bauatiful songs to listen to when you are feeling down:

Mareli Ahlschlager | Ear operations
“As a child I had constant ear problems that resulted in grommets and a burst eardrum. Due to not being allowed to get water in my ears, I developed a fear of water (swimming). Now as an adult I try to live my best life. Don’t let your imperfections hold you back.”

Through the Scar Project SA we aim to raise funds for the Rare Diseases Foundation of South Africa.

If you would like to donate to their cause please visit their webpage HERE.

Or contact them directly 010 594 3844

Anonymous | Fybromyalgea & Rheumatatoid Arthrits
“Don’t give up or let your scars define you, you are beautiful from within, and your real beauty will always shine through.”
Nikiwe Nondabula | Neurofibromatosis
Callum Dunn | Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Ilze Fourie | Myasthenia Gravis
“5 Daily Reminders:
1) I am amazing.
2) I can do anything.
3) Positivity is a choice.
4) I celebrate my individuality.
5) I am prepared to succeed.”
Ben Rall | Wilms Tumour
Skye Paton | Tetralogy of Fallot
Zaan-Mari Marais | Car Accident

The Scar Project SA images was beautifully combined in a 2020 calendar with profits for Rare Diseases SA.

A special thank you to the following people that helped to make the project possible:

  • 𝑺𝒄𝒂𝒓 𝑴𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒔: You know who you are!
  • 𝑽𝒆𝒏𝒖𝒆: Feathers Lodge Boutique Hotel
  • Rare Diseases South Africa
  • RareBear Project 
  • 𝑻-𝑺𝒉𝒊𝒓𝒕 𝑺𝒑𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒐𝒓𝒔:
    Sovereign Wealth Solutions
    King’s Cross Church
    Chane Botha 
  • 𝑺𝒄𝒂𝒓 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝑻𝒆𝒂𝒎:
    Keith Ahlschläger
    Cindy Wilken
    Jenny Nel
  • 𝑶𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝑫𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔:
    Thank you to my amazing family and friends that helped me with lots (too much to name). No donation is too small. Time and motivation means just as much as physical donations and I appreciate it so much. Without those “little” moments of help and inspiration I would not have been able to pull off this project. Thank you!
  • Thank you to each person that has shared the project posts, helped bring awareness and supported (and continue to) throughout the project.

Thank You!

Please support our project by sharing your story with #ScarProjectSA
Our project does not stop here. Please help bring awareness around you and spread this beautiful message. X