Laurie Sumiye is a Japanese-American environmental artist and filmmaker who explores human and nature intersections, known for her projects about the endangered and extinct species of Hawaiʻi. She explores place, humans and native species through her cross-disciplinary practice which spans animation, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, immersive media and film. She has exhibited her art in New York, Los Angeles, Hawai‘i and internationally, in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, and screened her award-winning films at DOC NYC, BAMcinemaFest and PS1 MoMA. She was selected for documentary film fellowships with Sundance Institute/Women in Film, Firelight Media,  Jackson Wild and UnionDocs Center for Documentary Arts. Laurie was selected as an Artist-in-Residence at Blue Mountain Center (NY) and received its 2021 Harriet Barlow Commons Residency Award, Digital Artist Studios (N. Ireland), Sacatar Institute (Brazil), Artfunkl (UK) and Bishop Museum (Hawaii). Laurie has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from CUNY Hunter College, BA in Art & BS in Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute in New York. She formerly worked as an art director and interaction designer for clients such as Disney, Best Buy and MercyCorps for over 15 years in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Laurie returned to Hawaii, where she was born and raised, to work on her first feature documentary. A PARADISE LOST is a hybrid animated documentary about the Palila v. Hawaii, first animal that sued to prevent its extinction. Laurie returned to Hawaii where she was born and raised to work on her first feature documentary, A PARADISE LOST. The film was awarded funding from Pacific Islanders in Communications and Firelight Media, and selected for Good Pitch Local Hawaii. Laurie taught filmmaking and transmedia as Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu. She lives and works in Mililani, Hawaii.


My work is a holistic investigation of how we connect to nature, finding intimate dimensions of our psyche which are spiritual, experiential and immersive. I make art and tell stories to cultivate a new appreciation of nature at risk of being lost, and gather inspiration from specificity of place that produces unique, rare forms. My work is shaped by engaging in environmental issues as a naturalist and documentary storyteller; studying endangered species, collaborating with scientists, conservationists, and indigenous Hawaiian cultural practitioners, and creating narratives associated with the preservation of Hawaiian species. I am also interested in topics related to small-scale human interactions with the environment; sustainability, gardening, and micro climate change. As an interdisciplinary conceptual artist, I express my ideas through verbal, audio-visual, animation, 2D, 3D, and organic media experimentations.  My research involves studying and documenting plants and animals, deconstructing humans' perception of nature through culture, and connecting biological, sociological and theological themes. 

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