January 26, 2020
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Wabanaki artists honored at largest Native American art show in the world

Photo by Bazh Nibah | Courtesy of Bazh Nibah
Photo by Bazh Nibah | Courtesy of Bazh Nibah
A couture design by Wabanaki designers Decontie & Brown is featured at the 2019 fashion show at the Santa Fe Indian Market.

Wabanaki artists took home an array of honors at this year’s Santa Fe Indian Market, held last weekend in New Mexico, with one Passamaquoddy artist receiving top honors for his basketry and a Bangor-based jewelry and fashion design team featured in the pages of Vogue.

The Santa Fe Indian Market is the largest Native American art show in the world, attracting over 100,000 attendees each summer to New Mexico and showcasing more than 1,000 artists over its six days. This year’s market was held Aug. 13-18.

Passamaquoddy basket maker Jeremy Frey was named Best in Class for his basketry. Frey, who previously won Best in Class at the market in 2011 and 2015, is a nationally acclaimed artist whose work is held in the collections of the Smithsonian and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. He specializes in ash fancy baskets, a traditional form of Wabanaki weaving.

Bangor-based husband and wife duo of Jason and Donna Brown, Penobscot jewelers and fashion designers who do business under the label Decontie & Brown, took home both a first and second place ribbon for Contemporary Jewelry. A number of their fashion designs were also featured in the market’s Haute Couture Fashion Show, held on the last day of the event and featuring Native contemporary fashion designers from all over the country. The market also holds a traditional costume contest on the same day.

Decontie & Brown had nine designs featured in the haute couture show, one of which was featured in an article published by Vogue, the world’s leading fashion magazine, on Thursday. New Mexico model Katherine Smith wore the design, titled “Dawnland.”

“It’s called Dawnland, the embodiment of the rising sun in the wild woods of Wabinakiland,” said Jason Brown. “It pays homage to our territory being the first place in North American to feel the touch of the sun.”

Other Wabanaki artists honored at the market were Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, second place Basketry ribbon and Shane Perley-Dutcher, Wolastoq (Maliseet), first place Sculpture ribbon.


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