INESSA KALABEKOVA

MA Study Statement

MA Study Statement

Working Title:

“Bridging Canvases and Narratives: Unraveling the Threads of Art, Story Evolution, and Cultural Connectivity”

Aims: This exploration seeks to unravel the interconnected threads of art, story evolution, and cultural bonds, with a focus on understanding how these elements link humanity across time and diverse cultures. Akin’s musical improvisational skill  is intended to enhance the richness of this exploration.

Objectives:

  1. Cultural Reflection Through Art:
    • To investigate how art mirrors and shapes cultural beliefs.
  2. Evolution of Ancient Narratives:
    • To explore the transformation of ancient stories over time, gaining insights into the human experience.
  3. Global Resonance of Stories:
    • To understand the universal appeal of stories and identify commonalities that transcend cultural boundaries.
  4. Symbolic Meanings in Narratives:
    • To decipher the symbolic significance of elements like snakes in diverse storytelling traditions.
  5. Universal Lessons in Fairy Tales:
    • To uncover the inherent lessons embedded in fairy tales, examining their cross-cultural significance.
  6. Expression of Ancient Stories in Contemporary Art:
    • To examine how artists bring ancient stories to life, particularly through the medium of dance.
  7. Cultural Significance of Jade in Ancient China:
    • To investigate the importance of jade in ancient Chinese culture, specifically in burial practices featuring jade cicadas.
  8. Impact of Challenges on Artistic Creation:
    • To understand how external challenges shape the creative process of artists, transforming limitations into innovative expressions.
  9. Synergy of Ancient Stories and Scientific Discoveries:
    • To explore the intersection between ancient stories and scientific discoveries, particularly in works combining myths and fossils.
  10. Global Journey of Stories on the Silk Road:
    • To trace the path of stories along the contemporary Silk Road, understanding their role in connecting diverse cultures.

Through the accomplishment of these goals, my intention is to foster a deeper comprehension of the intricate connections among art, stories, culture, and the contemporary Silk Road. Akin’s musical improvisational skill is specifically integrated to amplify the richness of this exploration, adding a unique and special layer to our understanding of the interwoven tapestry of human experience across time and diverse cultures.

Context:

Historical Trailblazers:

Anthropology, a mix of biology, culture, linguistics, and archaeology, owes much to its pioneers. Thinkers like Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, and others shaped the field with ideas about culture, gender, and symbolism. Their work still influences how we see human behavior and cultures worldwide.

Contemporary Explorers:

Today, Ulf Hannerz studies cities, Marshall Sahlins delves into economies, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes focuses on medical anthropology, especially organ trafficking. David Graeber critiques society, and Marcia C. In horn studies infertility’s impact in the Middle East. Each brings a unique focus to the ever-evolving world of anthropology.

Aarne–Thompson–Uther Index (ATU Index):

In folklore studies, this index is key. Created by Antti Aarne in 1910 and expanded later, it categorizes folktales. With Thompson’s Motif-Index, it’s a vital tool for understanding global storytelling traditions.

Updated Folklore Database:

A recent update to a folklore and mythology database helps us explore human history. It gives insights into migrations, cultural contacts, and historical challenges across eras and continents, re-examining things like the African exodus or America’s first settlement.

List of artists  whose work currently influence my work:

  1. Chiharu Shiota:
    • Influential Concepts: Chiharu Shiota’s work is deeply rooted in the Japanese concept of “ma,” which refers to the space between things. Her installations often explore the interconnectedness of memories, the passage of time, and the intricate web of human relationships. The use of red threads in her art symbolizes the threads of life and the emotional ties that bind us.
    • Chiharu Shiota’s Website
  2. Mariko Mori:
    • Influential Concepts: Mariko Mori draws inspiration from Shintoism and Buddhism, exploring themes of spirituality, reincarnation, and the cosmos. Her work often reflects on the cyclical nature of existence and the harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world. Mori’s fusion of ancient Eastern philosophies with contemporary technology creates a bridge between tradition and innovation.
    • Mariko Mori’s Website
  3. Takashi Murakami:
    • Influential Concepts: Takashi Murakami’s Super flat movement is deeply influenced by traditional Japanese art, particularly the flattened aesthetics found in ukiyo-e prints. He blends this with contemporary pop culture, including anime and manga, challenging hierarchical distinctions between fine art and commercial culture. Murakami’s work reflects the impact of globalization and consumerism on Japanese society.
    • Takashi Murakami’s Website
  4. Joan Jonas:
    • Influential Concepts: Joan Jonas has been a trailblazer in performance and video art, drawing inspiration from mythology, literature, and anthropology. Her early exposure to Japanese Noh theater and traditional mask performances influenced her experimental approach to storytelling through multiple mediums. Jonas’s work challenges conventional notions of narrative, time, and space, emphasizing the corporeal aspects of performance.
    • Joan Jonas’s Website
  5. Katie Paterson:
    • Influential Concepts: Katie Paterson’s art is often informed by scientific concepts and the exploration of time, space, and natural phenomena. Her projects engage with astronomy, geology, and environmental science, translating complex scientific ideas into poetic and accessible artworks. Paterson’s interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists demonstrate the potential for art to communicate complex ideas and foster a deeper connection to the natural world.
    • Katie Paterson’s Website
  6. Aya Takano:
  • Influential Concepts: Aya Takano, associated with the Super flat movement, merges traditional Japanese art with anime and manga, challenging artistic hierarchies. Her work explores sexuality and fantasy, reflecting a contemporary approach to traditional themes. Influenced by mentor Takashi Murakami, Takano’s distinctive style contributes to the movement’s blurring of high and low art.
  • Aya Takano’s Website

Conclusion:

Anthropology, a mix of past and present exploration, thrives on the ideas of trailblazers and today’s thinkers. The Aarne–Thompson–Uther Index and the folklore database are proof of how anthropology keeps evolving and exploring new horizons. Chiharu Shiota, Mariko Mori, Takashi Murakami, Joan Jonas, and Katie Paterson currently influence my work by inspiring me to explore profound connections and emotional ties, synthesize ancient philosophies with contemporary innovation, challenge distinctions between art forms, experiment with storytelling, and integrate scientific concepts into art. Their diverse perspectives within contemporary art shape my creative approach, and exploring their websites deepens my understanding of their philosophies, contributing to my own contributions to the rich tapestry of contemporary artistic expression.

Methodology:

  1. Research Overview:
  • Purpose: Understand the evolution of myths and cultural symbols.
  • Method: Read books and studies on anthropology, art history, and mythology.
  • Record: Summarize key findings on how stories and symbols change over time.
  1. Theoretical Framework:
  • Purpose: Use theories from anthropology and art to guide the research.
  • Method: Combine ideas from different fields to analyse cultural transformations.
  • Record: Write down the chosen theories and how they relate to art and culture.
  1. Observation and Conversations:
  • Purpose: See and discuss art and performances related to myths.
  • Method: Attend exhibitions, performances, and talk to artists and experts.
  • Record: Take notes on what you see, hear, and learn from observations and conversations.
  1. Interviews and Expert Insights:
  • Purpose: Get opinions from experts to enrich the research.
  • Method: Talk to artists, anthropologists, and cultural historians.
  • Record: Write down what experts say about symbols, myths, and cultural meanings.
  1. Artistic Experimentation:
  • Purpose: Apply theories in making art that represents myths and symbols.
  • Method: Try different art techniques and styles.
  • Record: Document the art-making process, including challenges and decisions.
  1. Comparing Cultures:
  • Purpose: Look for similarities and differences in myths across cultures.
  • Method: Analyse narratives, artworks, and cultural adaptations.
  • Record: Make a list of what you find common or unique in different cultures.
  1. Reflective Journal:
  • Purpose: Keep a personal record of thoughts and insights.
  • Method: Write down reflections regularly.
  • Record: Keep a journal for personal thoughts on the research journey.
  1. Documentation and Multimedia:
  • Purpose: Create organized records of the research.
  • Method: Take photos, write reports, and record interviews.
  • Record: Store everything in a database for easy access.

I’m keeping it simple and fun. I’m reading about anthropology, art, and mythology. Then, I’m talking to people, observing things, and making art. It’s like a mix of detective work and being an artist. I want to see how stories and symbols change between different cultures. It’s not just theories; I’m getting hands-on to understand how cultures evolve. Easy peasy, right? Let’s dive into the adventure!

Outcomes: 

I am planning to explore nine distinct topics, each with its own unique theme and significance. As I delve into my research and experimentation, I will consider the evolving nature of the final presentation. It is beneficial to conceptualize the potential form of the ultimate outcome. The topics and their associated outcomes are as follows:

  1. Balance, Harmony, and Rebirth – Phoenix. 
  2. Tree of Life – Sacred Tree.
  3. The Tree, the Fruit, the Carpenter – Dragon. 
  4. Mother Goddess – Dress with Palaeolithic Venus figurines.
  5. Books from the Past
  6. Flood
  7. Manuport
  8. World Creation
  9. Myths of the Underworld – Griffon.

As I progress, I will adapt and refine the presentation format, keeping in mind the dynamic nature of the research and experimentation process.

In details:

  1. Balance, Harmony, and Rebirth – Phoenix:
    • Consider incorporating vibrant paintings depicting the cyclical nature of rebirth.
    • Explore the use of sketches to highlight the delicate balance symbolized by the mythical Phoenix.
  2. Tree of Life – Sacred Tree:
    • Create intricate drawings illustrating the interconnected branches and roots of the Tree of Life.
    • Experiment with mixed media to convey the sacredness of this universal symbol.
  3. The Tree, the Fruit, the Carpenter – Dragon:
    • Develop detailed drawings showcasing the symbiotic relationship between the dragon, the tree, and the carpenter.
    • Explore the use of symbolism in paintings to convey the narrative intricacies.
  4. Mother Goddess:
    • Utilize paintings to capture the divine essence of the Mother Goddess.
    • Incorporate sketches that emphasize maternal nurturing and protection.
  5. Books from the Past:
    • Integrate visual representations of ancient manuscripts and scrolls into the presentation.
    • Experiment with drawings that evoke the mystique of historical texts.
  6. Flood:
    • Create paintings portraying the power and impact of a catastrophic flood.
    • Utilize sketches to illustrate the resilience and adaptation of civilizations in the face of natural disasters.
  7. Manuport:
    • Showcase drawings and sketches of significant manuports, emphasizing their cultural and historical importance.
    • Incorporate detailed illustrations of the artifacts within the context of their discovery.
  8. World Creation:
    • Utilize artwork to visualize the awe-inspiring act of world creation.
    • Experiment with drawings that depict the diverse landscapes and elements shaping the cosmos.
  9. Myths of the Underworld – Griffon:
    • Craft dark and mysterious paintings to represent the underworld inhabited by the Griffon.
    • Develop intricate sketches that capture the mythical essence of this underworld creature.

As the research progresses, I will remain flexible in adapting the artistic elements to ensure a cohesive and engaging final presentation that reflects the depth and richness of each explored topic.

Work Plan Overview:

1. “The Tree, the Fruit, the Carpenter – Dragon”

  • Status: 100% done
  • Duration: 8 weeks

2. “Tree of Life – Sacred Tree”

  • Status: 30% done
  • Duration: 8 weeks

3. “Books from the Past – Book about Book”

  • Status: 5% done
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Working Title: “Book about Book”

4. “Flood” – Artwork: Scroll

  • Duration: To be determined

5. “Balance, Harmony, and Rebirth – Phoenix”

  • Duration: To be determined

6. “Mother Goddess”

  • Duration: To be determined

7. “Manuport”

  • Duration: To be determined

8. “World Creation”

  • Duration: To be determined

9. “Myths of the Underworld – Griffon”

  • Duration: To be determined

Action Plan for Exploration of Tree of Life Symbolism Across Cultures:

Objective: To delve into the symbolic significance of the Tree of Life across diverse cultures through a comprehensive and multi-faceted exploration.

1. Research and Reading (Week 1):

  • Identify key literature on the symbolism of the Tree of Life.
  • Read books, articles, and scholarly papers.

2. Meeting and Interviews (Weeks 1-3):

  • Identify experts and schedule meetings.
  • Record insights from discussions.

3. Sketching and Drawing (Weeks 2-5):

  • Dedicate time to intricate sketching.
  • Experiment with artistic techniques.

4. Symbolism Analysis (Weeks 1-6):

  • Analyze symbolism in each cultural context.
  • Reflect on the evolution of symbolism.

5. Documentation and Reflection (Weeks 1-8):

  • Create detailed documentation.
  • Reflect on personal insights.

6. Cultural Context Exploration (Weeks 1-8):

  • Explore historical, religious, and mythological aspects.
  • Look for patterns and differences.

7. Synthesis and Artwork Creation (Weeks 1-8):

  • Synthesize findings into a coherent narrative.
  • Share findings through exhibitions or talks.

Action Plan for Journey into the Past through Manuscripts:

Objective: Immerse in ancient manuscripts, drawing inspiration to create visually captivating drawings.

1. Research and Reading (Weeks 1-3):

  • Select ancient manuscripts from different cultures.
  • Dive into detailed readings.

2. Sketched Exploration (Weeks 1-5):

  • Sketch visual representations inspired by manuscripts.
  • Experiment with sketching techniques.

3. Meeting with Scholars (Weeks 1-6):

  • Identify experts and schedule meetings.
  • Incorporate expert perspectives.

4. Interviews with Enthusiasts (Weeks 1-8):

  • Connect with manuscript enthusiasts.
  • Conduct interviews for diverse perspectives.

5. Drawing Techniques Experimentation (Weeks 1-8):

  • Experiment with drawing techniques.
  • Use diverse tools for different effects.

6. Symbolism and Meaning Analysis (Weeks 1-8):

  • Analyze symbolism in selected manuscripts.
  • Integrate insights into drawings.

7. Documentation and Reflection (Weeks 1-8):

  • Document exploration process.
  • Reflect on personal journey.

8. Creation of a Series (Weeks 1-8):

  • Compile sketches into a cohesive series.
  • Pay attention to sequencing for a captivating presentation.

Action Plan for Immersive Exploration of Flood Mythology:

Objective: Delve deep into catastrophic floods in mythology, exploring various aspects.

1. In-Depth Study (Weeks 1-2):

  • Conduct thorough research into flood myths.
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding.

2. Visual Inspiration (Weeks 1-3):

  • Gather inspiration from artistic representations.
  • Analyze how artists convey flood themes.

3. Meeting with Experts (Weeks 1-4):

  • Arrange meetings with mythology and art experts.
  • Gain insights into diverse perspectives.

4. Interviews and Personal Narratives (Weeks 1-8):

  • Seek individuals with flood-related knowledge.
  • Conduct interviews for personal narratives.

5. Experimentation with Techniques (Weeks 1-8):

  • Experiment with artistic techniques.
  • Capture the dynamic nature of floods.

6. Creation of Artwork: Scroll (Weeks 1-8):

  • Translate insights into a scroll.
  • Depict resilience and adaptation.

The above work plans provide a detailed overview of the tasks, durations, and objectives for each phase of the research and artistic exploration. Adjustments and refinements will be made as the process unfolds.

Bibliography:

Books:

  1. The Chinese Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Legends.
    • Author: Tao Tao Liu.
    • Year: 2022.
  2. A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas.
    • Editor: Richard E. Strassberg.
    • Year: 2002.
  3. The Classic of Mountains and Seas.
    • Translator: Anne Birrell.
    • Year: 1999.
  4. Морфология Волшебной сказки (Morphology of the Fairy Tale).
    • Author: Владимир Пропп (Vladimir Propp).
    • Year: 2021.
  5. Исторические корни волшебной сказки (Historical Roots of the Fairy Tale).
    • Author: Владимир Пропп (Vladimir Propp).
    • Year: 2021.
  6. Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence.
    • Author: Carl Sagan.
    • Year: 1977.
  7. An Instinct for Dragons.
    • Author: David E. Jones.
    • Year: 2000.
  8. The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent: Why We See So Well.
    • Author: Lynne Isbell.
    • Year: 2009.
  9. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion.
    • Author: James George Frazer.
    • Year: 1890.
  10. Folklore in The Old Testament.
  • Year: 1988.
  1. Dragons. The Myths, Legends, Lore.
    • Author: Doug Niles.
    • Year: 2013.
  2. A Little History of the World.
    • Author: Ernst Gombrich.
    • Year: 1936.
  3. The Story of Art.
    • Author: Ernst Gombrich.
    • Year: 1950.
  4. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True.
    • Author: Richard Dawkins.
    • Year: 2012.
  5. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.
    • Author: Richard Dawkins.
    • Year: 2010.
  6. Out of Eden.
    • Author: Stephen Oppenheimer.
    • Year: 2004.
  7. Genes, Peoples, and Languages.

    • Author:  Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.
    • Year: 2000.
  8. Gods of the Upper Air. 
    • Author: Charles King..
    • Year: 2019.

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