Tonight we fly
19 Nov 2023 | Works
The dragon and the firefly
I’ve been wanting to make a painting about a firefly for some time. This summer, I spotted a huge dragonfly by a pond in the garden of our vacation home, and I imagined a firefly being carried on the back of a dragonfly in the dark night. It would be very romantic and poetic.
There’s a 1988 Japanese animation movie called The Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓), and I think it left a big impression on me when I saw it as a child. It’s a very sad story about two orphans trying to make a living during World War II. I only recently dared to watch it again (after 30 years!) and I wasn’t crying at all – instead, I got angry about the older brother. I felt that his arrogant personality ended up killing both him and his sister. It’s interesting how you can see a story very differently as a child and as an adult. No doubt, though, that it’s a good movie. And it has a beautiful scene with fireflies.
I thought about how to adapt this story, how to make it more me, more joyful and hopeful.
If you have seen the movie, then you probably know which stories I tried to put into the painting. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you can still admire the summery insects having a little adventure at night.
(PS: Maybe the two kids in the movie get reborn as a dragonfly and a firefly and have a reunion?)