During the last six years Susan Hauri-Downing's art practice has been strongly influenced by the birth of her now four and half year old twins and by the ecological contradictions of moving back and forth between Australia and Switzerland.
Prior to 2006, she worked with themes directly related to the environmental degradation caused by the detrimental and unsustainable land management practices introduced by 19th century Australian colonists. Her work highlighted the pervasive introduction of foreign species, so that today most Australians are unaware of the importance of recognizing and preserving native species and communities.
Since moving to Switzerland she has gained a much better appreciation of the factors that persuaded the early colonists to bring familiar plants and animals to the unsuitable habitats of Africa and Australia. The focus of her work has shifted to exploring the ways in which the global cultivation of native and foreign plant species represents personal and cultural signifiers of human needs, including aesthetics; cultural ties to the past; food security; availability of traditional food, materials for artifacts; and medicines.
When possible, she repurposes donated or surplus materials. Similarly she draws on the support, services and resources of volunteer organisations or of government funded individuals/groups to network, share information, reduce costs, and to add passionate and concerned voices to the issues being explored. Production of her works often involve groups of people who share particular concerns and who might act as consultants, designers, participants, technical specialists or evaluators. Sometimes her artistic role may be simply as a facilitator.