“Exile” is the third chapter of Vasantha Yogananthan’s long-term project A Myth of Two Souls, which offers a contemporary retelling of The Ramayana. A seven-chapter tale first recorded by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki around 300 BC, The Ramayana is one of the founding epics of Hindu mythology.
Since 2013, Yogananthan has been travelling from north to south India, retracing the itinerary of the epic’s heroes. Between fiction and reality, he deliberately blurs the lines through multiple aesthetic approaches: colour, hand-painted and illustrated photographs are interspersed with vernacular images to compose the layers of this timeless story.
The end of chapter two announces that Rama is banished from the kingdom, forced to live in exile during fourteen years. The third chapter tells about Rama’s life in the forest, where he is joined by Sita and his brother Lakshmana. The Ramayana has been continuously rewritten and reinterpreted through time, and for Yoganathan’s book has been retold by Indian writer Arshia Sattar.
A Myth of Two Souls will be published in seven photobooks between 2016-2019, one per chapter of the epic.
All images ©Vasantha Yogananthan