Descendants of the Dragon, a story from the Music Box Museum. Dec 2023 - Jan 2024
Inessa Kalabekova’s captivating series of collages and drawings draw inspiration from the ancient Chinese text “Classic of Mountains and Seas,” particularly the enchanting tale of “The Four Dragons.” This body of work, a fusion of drawing, collage, and painting, reflects Kalabekova’s enduring fascination with mythical narratives, especially those featuring magical creatures.
Part of her MFA project at Central Saint Martins, this exhibition serves as a prelude to her final student showcase in London, following a successful exhibition in Singapore titled “The Nature of Art.” Kalabekova’s distinctive style weaves a harmonious interplay of vibrant colors and diverse materials, such as museum brochures, postcards, maps, and musical scores. Each canvas collage gradually reveals a melodic dance of trees, branches, animals, people, and fantastical beings.
Her research for this show blossomed during the “15 Dragon Spirits” residency in Taipei, where Kalabekova immersed herself in the rich iconography of dragons found in local temples and museums. The culmination of her exploration was a self-made scroll depicting blue dragons in watercolor and pencils, a collaborative effort with her two young daughters.
Returning to Singapore, Kalabekova continued her artistic journey by sketching statues and dragons in the historic Thian Hock Keng Temple. Inspired by the adjacent Musical Box Museum, her daughter Alice spun a tale that sparked the creation of dragon-infused portraits and collages. In these pieces, a parallel world unfolds, revealing a magical bond between a newborn and a dragon.
In “Descendants of the Dragon,” Kalabekova’s art transcends reality, inviting viewers into infinite universes. The portraits emanate empathy and personality, yet the sinuous dragons hovering above suggest a deeper, unseen dimension. The four dragon collages showcased at the Museum serve as a poignant reminder that timeless tales, like “The Classic of Mountains and Seas,” endure through the hands of artists, unveiling the ancient, wise, and spiritual dimensions buried within us all.