Photo by J.B. Friday
Laurie Sumiye is a Hawai`i-born artist and filmmaker who investigates environmental tensions between humans and nature. Her background in interactive media, animation, journalism and design uniquely informs her videos, drawings and installations. Laurie spent 16 years working in creative and technology in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London. Laurie has shown her award-winning films at DOC NYC, BAM cinemaFest and PS1MoMA, and exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Hawai`i and internationally in Belfast, South Africa and Sao Paulo, Brazil. She holds a MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College in New York, BA & BS in Art and Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Lorenzo De’ Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute in New York. Laurie currently works and lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.
My work questions the way we perceive our environment and the way we relate to it, finding inner dimensions of nature that becomes experiential and intimate. My creative practice is cross-disciplinary; I play with animation, video, moving image, digital media, new media, organic media and found objects to build narratives and transform spaces to engage viewers on a subconscious, intuitive level.
My current body of work is a deep dive into the science and ecology of Native Hawaiian ecosystems. Many plants and animals commonly seen in Hawaii’s populated areas like mynah birds, plumeria and palms are introduced. Hawaii’s native flora and fauna are beautiful, spiritual and fragile; thus I make art to cultivate appreciation of the natural world that is at risk of being lost.
My practice involves studying and observing nature, writing about philosophical and conceptual frameworks in deconstructing the human perception of nature, and interconnecting biological, technological, sociological and environmental themes. I frequently collaborate with scientists and conservationists, documenting rare and endangered species in the wild while capturing stories associated with their preservation and protection. My work is shaped by engaging in a deep inquiry of science and culture; researching topics related to sustainable development, ecology, biology and climate change, and experimenting with natural and manmade materials. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of my art practice as my work ranges from installations to video and drawings.
My passion is to inspire children and young adults–many who spend a lot of time indoors using smartphones, iPads and laptops–to observe the rhythms of the natural world and express those experiences through art. My hope is to give all people, particularly ones living in urban and suburban areas, a desire to explore and enjoy the wilderness in their own backyards.