Vasantha Yogananthan’s (b. 1985, India) A Myth of Two Souls was inspired by the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu poem about the struggles and successes of prince Rama as he tries to save his beloved Sita from the demon king Ravana. Yogananthan is retracing the legendary route across the subcontinent from south to north, capturing the pervasiveness of myths in the daily lives of Indian people in a seven-chapter-long series. He documents this in legendary landscapes, theatrical portraits and collages that combine photography with traditional Madhubani painting. It’s a modern reinvention of the traditional tale, which documents contemporary life while creating a fantastic narrative that stimulates the imagination.
With the fourth and latest chapter, Dadanka, Yogananthan explores people’s relationship with nature in a surreal way, using his distinctive soft colour palette and juxtaposing comic strips to idyllic landscapes. His models, ordinary people met on his travels, become an integral part of nature, and the illustrations from the 1970s offer an ironic commentary on everyday hurdles in modern India. Yogananthan’s contemporary retelling of the Ramayana, a project which will be completed in 2020 once The Epilogue photobook is published, blurs the line between fiction and reality.