All posts tagged: Ramayana

In Paris: Vasantha Yogananthan goes into the wilderness with his latest book

The last time we spoke to Vasantha Yogananthan he was preparing to release chapter one of his hugely ambitious seven-part project A Myth of Two Souls. A project that he started in 2013 with his first trip to India, the collection is a photographic re-imagining of one of the most significant Hindu texts, the epic poem Ramayana. Dating back to the 4th century, the Ramayana still holds tremendous significance in India, with its allegorical, mythical stories helping convey concepts such as love, duty, violence, loyalty and divinity. Yogananthan had always been familiar with the Ramayana growing up – his Sri Lankan father told him stories from it during his youth in Grenoble, France, and he picked up comic book adaptations of it as a teenager. But it was only when he visited India that he realised just how interwoven the analogies presented in Ramayana are with the experience of everyday life on the subcontinent, and just how thin the line can be between mythology and reality.

2017-11-09T15:45:58+00:00

Vasantha Yogananthan on his epic series, A Myth of Two Souls

When Vasantha Yogananthan was a child growing up in France his Sri Lankan father would tell him stories from the Hindu epic poem the Ramayana. Tales of heroism, filial duty and love full of magic, allegory and divinity, these stories were at the time just that – stories. But when Yogananthan first visited India in 2013, he came face-to-face with the pervasiveness of myth and legend on the subcontinent. In a land steeped in ancient history, folklore and veracity are deeply intertwined, and attempting to disentangle the two can be futile. Eventually, Yogananthan decided to stop trying. Historians and archaeologists estimate the composition of the Ramayana to the 4th century, and it is at once a foundation stone of Indian literature, one of Hinduism’s key texts, and a model for familial relationships. It follows the journey of Prince Rama, who travels the length of the country to get his wife, Sita, back when she is abducted by the demon Ravana. It’s a complex story, and its characters have become embodiments of virtue and honour in Indian society, but the story touches …

2017-01-12T12:34:33+00:00

A photographer’s epic journey across India

“This story you cannot tell, only recording the work as it is,” says photographer Vasantha Yogananthan. In a black blazer, black jeans, black cardigan and a floral shirt, Vasantha Yogananthan is as mellifluous as his photography. Scans of these – slate and rainbow squares on cream paper – lie fanned on the table. The 29-year-old Paris-based photographer has just gained the resources to develop his epic seven-book project, A Myth of Two Souls, which we discuss at the BJP office in Old Street, London. He’s won a £5,000 grant in the international category of the IdeasTap and Magnum Photographic Award, after finishing in the top three of 823 applicants. He is in a good mood. “The challenge is: how do you tell this story for people in the West?” says Yogananthan, whose mother is French and father is Sri-Lankan. “People will see the pictures and miss what the project is about. We are working on finding an editorial strategy where we can invite the audience to discover India the same way I am discovering it.” The project is to …

2015-05-12T16:18:07+00:00

BJP Staff