Creativity is the natural order of life
SURI is an ethical art project, using clothing as a medium to raise awareness for women & earth. Synthesizing global ethics, art, fashion & the ecology of wisdom, we aim to raise appreciation for the creators behind: Women. Women who create. Women, who weave their heritage and dreams into artworks.
How SURI came to life
It was 2019 when I decided to join the Saheliwomen project. I was in search for a deeper understanding of ethical fashion, its conditions and its real impacts for change. During my 20's I had spent my time studying fashion design, fashion management and cultural anthropology of fashion. I even had worked in the sustainable fashion industry but what I discovered mostly, were brands, communicating change, using transparency as a tool for trust. It seemed not communicated that a holistic approach is essential for understanding the contemporary debate we are having: That it is about rethinking our responsibility and engagement, using our privilege to add value and consequently use our resources to interrupt the ongoing dependence on whatever industries, in which human beings are involved.
Supporting individuals and community growth, recoding the role of women where it has not yet happened, impacts people and nature immensely in a liberating way.
I felt dissatisfied with what I was experiencing. I felt like we were abusing the term ethics for a feel-good consumption that has little to do with mindful action. There were little projects aiming to decolonize the fashion narrativ and advocating a mission beyond fair wages.
So I decided to make my way to the grassroots level to gain a perspective that shall enable me to expand my perception and find answers for solutions based on a profound holistic approach.
Initially I thought I could “help" the Saheliwomen. A tiny little unconscious error, since we are raised in a superior complex system in terms of education. I quickly realized that, in fact, I came to learn.
I feel blessed and grateful for having been able to work and learn side by side with the most powerful women I’ve ever met: The founder of the NGO IPHD, Madhu Vaishnav, who dedicated her life to empower women through skills development and the creation of meaningful livelihood opportunities. Therefor she build the Saheliwomen studio, a the colorful atelier in the middle of the Thar Desert, a space that is free from religion and cast discrimination where 44 women work self sufficient, based on their capacity, earning high wages, which are far beyond the national poverty line and showing the world what miracles lie within the power of female communities.
Words from founder Carolina Abalos
"Creativity flourishes when we have a sense of safety and self-acceptance"
Safety is foundational to learning and growth. It is the container that holds the space that allows women to feel, to care, to be themselves and to create. Safety is the way to power, strength and independence. In rural Rajasthan as in all other parts of the Global Gouth, strengthening women works through supporting them in gaining financial independence and being part of an empowering female community.
Taking action against poverty, giving access to healthcare and, this is key, enabling girls in particular to get to experience education is an urgent necessity and huge concern when we use the term ethical fashion. In that way, ethical fashion becomes a tool for change and a symbol for rethinking consumerism and privilege. We aim to establish an holistic approach for environmental ethics ecosystems and biosphere as a whole.
SURI through the lens of a dear friend
What is alive behind the word SURI?
SURI is one branch of a tree whose roots are growing to connect with the world wide web of care.
It is the understanding of us being born into this life as sisters and brothers of all kinds of species. It is the understanding of the earth being our mother. Our friend. Our companion. Our responsibility.
It is the dream of our species becoming a nourishing part of this organism that we are a part of. A knowledge that too many of us departed from.
It is the hope turning into a belief that care will guide our approach to life. It is the longing for helping care to circulate through our broken systems. And our broken hearts. It is the gratitude for the encounters of human beings who already started or never stoped taking care of our planet. Who is our mother, our friend, our companionship, our responsibility. Breathing through its diversity.
It is the acknowledgement that all we came from the earth and the waters. And that the life inside of them lets us stay. It is the encounter with those women who became sisters, friends, companions, my responsibility. To respond in a way that supports their care to circulate. Who showed me how this life that is alive in the earth, the air, the waters, the plants, the animals, our dreams can grow out of human bodies. Being the same energy circulating through a new form. A blue tissue in which the life is still alive.
It is the urgent need to start planting and saving seeds.
It is this pray of us learning to love life. The life in the earth. The life growing out of the earth. The life moving on the earth. The life moving through the waters. The life that is alive in the air. That we all share.
It is the question of how to stop supporting the violence that kills the life on our planet. It is about listening to funghi about how to support the world wide web of care. It is a platform for dreamers wanting to help this earth keep on dreaming us.
Words: Paulina Jürges