Laurie Sumiye is a Japanese-American contemporary artist and storyteller known for her work about the endangered species of Hawaiʻi. She explores relationships between nature and place through film, painting, animation, installation, and sculpture. She has exhibited her art in New York, Los Angeles, Hawai‘i and internationally, in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. Laurie has screened her award-winning films at DOCNYC, BAM cinemaFest and PS1 MoMA. She was selected for film directing fellowships with Firelight Media, Sundance Institute/Women in Film, Jackson Wild and UnionDocs Center for Documentary Arts. Laurie was an Artist-in-Residence at A Studio in the Woods - Rising Climate Residency (New Orleans), Blue Mountain Center (NY) & recipient of their 2021 Harriet Barlow Commons Residency Award, Digital Artist Studios (N. Ireland), Sacatar Institute (Brazil), Artfunkl (UK), Bishop Museum (Honolulu) and BoxJelly (Honolulu). Laurie has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from CUNY Hunter College, BA in Art & BS in Communications from Bradley University, and studied fine art at Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute in New York. Laurie formerly served as an Assistant Professor of Film at the University of Hawai‘i-West Oahu. She lives and works in Long Beach, CA and Mililani, Hawai‘i.
My work is a holistic investigation of how humans over millennia have connected with nature, intimate dimensions of our psyche that are spiritual, experiential and individuated. A specificity of place produces unique forms–endemic flora and fauna–which become one with their environment. Through delving into the lives of plants and animals, ingesting natural histories, integrating biological, sociological and theological themes, a story of native vs. outsider emerges. "Endangered species" becomes a metaphor for self-realization through evolution and extinction. As an environmental activist, a neo-Transcendentalist philosophy shapes an interdisciplinary conceptual practice that is diverse and limitless as the species I study; handmade, technological, verbal, audio-visual, and organic matter experimentations.