A lot more than 20 a long time just after Penobscot Nation artists Jason Brown and Donna Decontie Brown first started generating and promoting jewellery as Decontie & Brown, the pair have hung up their pliers for now in favor of a a lot more expansive, interdisciplinary way of building artwork.
Soon soon after the pandemic begun, Jason Brown threw his enthusiasm driving Firefly, a multimedia effectiveness artwork venture that for the previous two several years has reworked his artistic lifestyle. By way of songs, online video, dance and trend, Brown makes an immersive reside knowledge, drawing on ancestral Wabanaki music and imagery, but with a futuristic twist.
“It’s Indigenous futurism,” he claimed. “Many persons consider of Indigenous individuals as anything ancient, or from the previous. They really don’t see us as present, and they sure as heck do not see us as futuristic. But we are in this article, and we will be listed here. One of the explanations why I do this is to clearly show that.”
The path to Firefly was a long but inevitable 1. In 2016, Decontie & Brown commenced earning outfits and components in addition to jewellery, showing in manner demonstrates at important Indigenous American artwork shows like the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Listened to Museum Guild Indian Marketplace in Phoenix, Arizona, and far more domestically at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.
Brown established his have music for some of people shows, spurring him to master a lot more about recording and making soulful digital beats about which to sing and drum. The music on their own were being already there, drawing on the historical Wabanaki new music he figured out several years back from tribal elders.
“There’s a purpose why these chants, these notes, these melodies have lasted for 1000’s of many years,” he said. “They may possibly have adjusted a tiny little bit more than the generations, but the authentic power guiding them flows as a result of. We just set our possess flavor on it and hand it ahead. It is all component of a continuation of this 13,000-year-aged circle of creativity.”
Although Brown and his spouse and imaginative companion Decontie Brown experienced discovered a good deal of accomplishment in making fantastic jewelry, when the pandemic struck, it adjusted every little thing for them. All the art reveals they generally traveled to in the spring, summer time and fall were being canceled.
Bored and restless, Brown began hosting live streams featuring himself singing and drumming above these beats, donning some of the clothes patterns he and Decontie Brown built, and location up evocative lights in deep purples, blues, reds and greens — hues inspired by the gentle of fireflies, the aurora, and the night sky in common.
His reside streams have been common correct off the bat, and Brown dubbed the undertaking Firefly. Just after a couple months, it became really apparent to him that this was the route he desired to go in creatively. In 2021, he and Decontie Brown built the determination to start off refocusing Decontie & Brown away from entirely jewelry and style, and towards getting a “house of creativity” — a partnership that encompasses the design and style, songs, and video features of their get the job done.
“COVID was a tragedy, but it also was a terrific reset for so several individuals. It produced so numerous folks reevaluate the things in their lives,” he said. “I know it did for me.”
Given that then, Brown has introduced a range of songs as Firefly, releasing his debut album, “Sacred Fireplace,” very last yr. He has done dwell exhibits throughout Maine and the region, which include numerous reveals in Portland around the winter season. In his are living exhibits, he transforms venues into shimmering nighttime wonderlands, and he encourages audiences to take part in the singing and rhythmic areas.
Previously this 12 months Brown also finished function as Firefly on a piece of electronic online video artwork known as “WABANAVIA,” that explores not just his Wabanaki heritage, but also Scandinavian roots, as he has ancestors from Sweden. The Portland Museum of Artwork procured “WABANAVIA” in February as part of its permanent selection.
While Brown will make his music and visual aspects, Donna Decontie Brown performs with him to craft and accomplish the dwell demonstrates and take care of their enterprise, while working as director of the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition. They’ve also been busy transforming their Bangor home and studio into a hub of multimedia exercise, and absent from remaining a jewelry studio.
Not that Brown intends to give up jewellery building forever. It is what received him begun as an artist, and what put him on the path to Firefly.
“Just the other working day I had to get my applications out so I could do a little maintenance on a piece I manufactured a couple of a long time back,” he reported. “It’s pleasant to don’t forget that I haven’t lost my touch, even if my creative imagination is in a different spot now.”
Firefly will up coming perform on Saturday, June 18 at the Bangor Arts Trade, as part of WERU-FM’s summertime live performance sequence. For additional facts, visit fireflythehybrid.com.