The Earth Warrior Speaks of More Than Just Trees
Her Dominican, Afro Latina roots are at the forefront. Her work emphasizes black and brown women in flight, in transition, in movement –The Earth Warrior, aka Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, uncovers the magic, secret steps of the dance called womanhood.
She is a triad of educator, artist, and woman; but, those are just synonyms. She is art. Through captions, inscriptions, poems & photos, she invents a world where women are visible and valuable. She pioneers through jungle, the social construct of female identity and conformity.
Photos and words dance as if in ceremonial bliss. She creates a space, a home, a universe of recognition. The Earth Warrio beats a drum and shakes an ankle bracelet; a painted face appears to tell the stories of one female after another. These are not just stories; they are footprints to follow, the sacrifices that make a girl into a woman.
Becoming The Surax is an early version of her modern day identity of The Earth Warrior. Here she tackles Dr. Seuss;fighting for Mother Earth’s right to her fecundity:
Black.Girl.Fly is a project with wings, an online archive of black girls traveling. Soon she will be accepting submissions, stay awake, don’t sleep on this one: http://www.theearthwarrior.com/black-girl-fly/
A Ribbon Around A Bomb is a project that opens the heart and illuminates women from the inside out. It speaks to the power of attraction and the enigma of sheer female force. Here, women discuss what makes them powerful – female fire and light, tiny galaxies galloping on land. In acknowledging their inner magnitude they flourish further; they multiply their beauty. Witness the budding.
A collection of forces and energies allowed us to connect. We shared art & heart. A sister in making & creating, I was lucky to have the chance to talk to her about her inspiring ways.
How was Black.Girl.Fly born and where you do envision it (her) going?
Black.Girl.Fly. was born this summer on my wife’s first-ever journey out of the country to Italy. There were so many beautiful, powerful moments during that trip where we would just look at each other + cry + those tears were filled with the full spectrum of human emotions: courage, love, devotion, curiosity about the world, limitlessness, inspiration -all of it. It made me think about what motivates us to thrust ourselves into a world that doesn’t always love black + brown womyn. Black.Girl.Fly. will be an archive, a collection of photographs, art works + stories from black+brown womyn travelers, gypsiers, explorers that will answer the question, “what motivates you to fly?” I hope that this project will inspire the next generation of black+brown girls to climb, float, fly, ascend…to know they can…to rest on our legacy + continue to add to our collective story.
Is there a story behind the name The Earth Warrior?
Yes. It comes from my activism in the world of environmental justice as student leader of a group called, “The Green Stream” that organized Spring Break service-learning opportunities to NOLA, partnering with Historic Green New Orleans -an organization working to sustainably rebuild the Lower 9th Ward post-Katrina. So, I sort of made a name for myself in that arena on campus. One day, I came back to my room to find a quote taped onto my door that read “I’m not an environmentalist, I’m an earth warrior.” I think that’s really the instant I became The Earth Warrior. I adopted The Earth Warrior as my artist name + the rest is history. As my work evolved over the years to include themes + ideas outside of environmentalism + eco-justice, I started to think about the way I continue to be a defender of not only the physical Earth but also the people that activate this planet -especially womyn + girls. I started to think about how my projects are time capsules + memories of earthlings being + becoming; + how my work as an educator, artist + organizer is an effort to make this place just a little better for us.
If you were not human what would you be and why?
This one’s easy. I’d be a Sunflower, radiating Energy. A living thing with purpose and responsibility, upward facing, optimistic, fueled by nature, nourished by the earth + sky. Bright, intense, dramatic, inspiring joy…I’d be myself, still.
Find her work here:
WORDS BY: Jacklyn Janeksela