Additional than 20 yrs immediately after Penobscot Nation artists Jason Brown and Donna Decontie Brown 1st began earning and promoting jewellery as Decontie & Brown, the pair have hung up their pliers for now in favor of a much more expansive, interdisciplinary way of earning artwork.
Soon immediately after the pandemic commenced, Jason Brown threw his passion at the rear of Firefly, a multimedia functionality artwork job that for the past two years has remodeled his creative everyday living. Through music, video clip, dance and trend, Brown generates an immersive stay practical experience, drawing on ancestral Wabanaki tunes and imagery, but with a futuristic twist.
“It’s Indigenous futurism,” he reported. “Many men and women assume of Indigenous persons as something ancient, or from the earlier. They never see us as present-day, and they positive as heck really do not see us as futuristic. But we are listed here, and we will be here. Just one of the factors why I do this is to show that.”
The path to Firefly was a extensive but unavoidable a person. In 2016, Decontie & Brown began creating garments and add-ons in addition to jewelry, showing in manner displays at main Native American art displays like the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Guild Indian Market place in Phoenix, Arizona, and much more regionally at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.
Brown produced his individual new music for some of these exhibits, spurring him to master more about recording and generating soulful digital beats more than which to sing and drum. The music themselves were already there, drawing on the historical Wabanaki new music he uncovered a long time in the past from tribal elders.
“There’s a cause why these chants, these notes, these melodies have lasted for 1000’s of several years,” he explained. “They may have modified a small bit more than the generations, but the first electricity at the rear of them flows via. We just put our personal flavor on it and hand it forward. It’s all section of a continuation of this 13,000-calendar year-previous circle of creativeness.”
However Brown and his wife and resourceful associate Decontie Brown had located a great offer of accomplishment in earning high-quality jewelry, when the pandemic struck, it modified almost everything for them. All the art exhibits they usually traveled to in the spring, summertime and drop were canceled.
Bored and restless, Brown commenced internet hosting reside streams that includes himself singing and drumming in excess of those people beats, wearing some of the apparel layouts he and Decontie Brown built, and location up evocative lighting in deep purples, blues, reds and greens — colours inspired by the light-weight of fireflies, the aurora, and the night time sky in standard.
His are living streams were being well-liked correct off the bat, and Brown dubbed the challenge Firefly. Right after a couple of months, it grew to become really obvious to him that this was the path he desired to go in creatively. In 2021, he and Decontie Brown made the final decision to start out refocusing Decontie & Brown away from only jewelry and vogue, and toward getting a “house of creativity” — a partnership that encompasses the style, audio, and movie factors of their work.
“COVID was a tragedy, but it also was a great reset for so many persons. It manufactured so lots of persons reevaluate the factors in their lives,” he explained. “I know it did for me.”
Considering that then, Brown has produced a amount of tracks as Firefly, releasing his debut album, “Sacred Fire,” past calendar year. He has executed live exhibits throughout Maine and the nation, which include quite a few shows in Portland more than the wintertime. In his stay demonstrates, he transforms venues into shimmering nighttime wonderlands, and he encourages audiences to take part in the singing and rhythmic aspects.
Earlier this 12 months Brown also finished operate as Firefly on a piece of electronic movie artwork called “WABANAVIA,” that explores not just his Wabanaki heritage, but also Scandinavian roots, as he has ancestors from Sweden. The Portland Museum of Art acquired “WABANAVIA” in February as portion of its lasting collection.
Though Brown will make his new music and visible things, Donna Decontie Brown is effective with him to craft and execute the dwell demonstrates and manage their company, although doing the job as director of the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition. They’ve also been hectic transforming their Bangor house and studio into a hub of multimedia exercise, and absent from getting a jewelry studio.
Not that Brown intends to give up jewelry making for good. It’s what received him started out as an artist, and what set him on the path to Firefly.
“Just the other working day I had to get my instruments out so I could do a small repair service on a piece I produced a number of several years back,” he explained. “It’s awesome to remember that I haven’t dropped my touch, even if my creativeness is in a unique put now.”
Firefly will future conduct on Saturday, June 18 at the Bangor Arts Exchange, as portion of WERU-FM’s summertime live performance series. For much more info, go to fireflythehybrid.com.
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