Laurie Sumiye is a Hawaiʻi-based artist, animator and documentary filmmaker who investigates environmental tensions between humans and nature. Her background in interactive media and visual design informs her paintings, animations, videos, drawings, sculpture and installations. She has exhibited her artwork 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, BAM cinemaFest and PS1MoMA. She has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, BA & BS in Art and Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Lorenzo De Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute in New York. She spent 16 years working as an art director and designer in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. She returned to Hawaiʻi to work on her first long-form documentary for PBS, A PARADISE LOST. Laurie serves as Assistant Professor of Creative Media/Transmedia at the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu. She lives and works in Mililani, Hawai‘i.


I am a Hawaii-based environmental artist and filmmaker who explores human and nature modalities and intersections, focusing on the native species of Hawaiʻi. My work exists in various media; drawing, painting, animation, video, sculpture, and installation. My interest is a holistic investigation of people and the environment, finding inner dimensions of nature that are experiential and intimate. I make art and tell stories to cultivate appreciation of the natural world that is at risk of being lost, and attenuate a narrowness of locality which produces unique, rare forms.

My work is shaped by engaging in deep inquiry as social scientist and documentarian; interviewing scientists and conservationists, documenting rare and endangered species, and capturing stories associated with their preservation and protection. I research topics related to human interactions with the environment; sustainable development, ecology, climate change, and agriculture.

Multidisciplinarity is a critical aspect of my practice, as I articulate my ideas through verbal, visual and conceptual experiments.  My research involves studying and recording nature, writing about philosophical and conceptual frameworks in deconstructing the human perception of nature, and interconnecting biological, technological, and sociological themes.

My current body of work is a deep dive into the science and spirituality of Native Hawaiian species. Hawaii’s endemic flora and fauna are highly endangered, beautiful, and fragile. Hawaiian and scientific names of plants and animals identify subspecies within the places they are found; islets, valleys and gulches. These micro-ecosystems of diversity, of the biological and linguistic kinds, possesses a distinct native Hawaiian spiritual energy and character that manifests in physical and metaphysical forms.

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