Artist Sara Shakeel, 28, is encouraging others to embrace their stretch marks by covering them with glitter and stars.
Sara has gained 195,000 followers on Instagram with her collages.
The former dental student, based in Islamabad, Pakistan, creates mesmerizing images by using photos and replacing some of their elements with another pattern, such as rainbows and diamonds. Shakeel had just failed her last year of dental school in 2016 when she turned to art to get through that difficult period.
‘I was taking out my toxicity and emotions through art, and then there was no looking back. I come from Pakistan and this concept of openly sharing your pictures when it comes to body empowerment is not an acceptable thing here in our society,’ Shakeel said.
‘I kind of live two lives, one here in Pakistan, and the other through my Instagram with the rest of the world.’
Whilst in most fashion mags and advertisements, stretch marks are often edited out. Sara has embraced them, by making them the main feature of the photo and completely beautiful.
Shakeel decided to make art out of stretch marks after taking photos of a friend and seeing how embarrassed the friend was to show her stretch marks, asking Shakeel numerous times to use Photoshop to get rid of them.
Uploading her pictures made her realize that many people, both men, and women, have stretch marks, and they are ‘something to embrace rather than being ashamed of’.