Chose Commune, 2021. First edition. Softcover with flaps, 168 pp., 60 photographs tipped-in by hand, 245 x 300 mm. Photographs and text by Vasantha Yogananthan (English / French). Design by Jatinder Singh Durhaila.
Juror's Special Mention — 2021 Paris Photo Aperture Foundation Photobook of the Year Award
A Myth of Two Souls(2013-2021) is inspired by the epic taleThe Ramayana. Drawing inspiration from the imagery associated with this myth and its pervasiveness in everyday Indian life, Vasantha Yogananthan has retraced the legendary route from Nepal to India to Sri Lanka. First recorded by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki around 300 BC,The Ramayanahas been continuously rewritten and reinterpreted, and continues to evolve today. Yogananthan’s series is informed by the notion of a journey in time and space and offers a modern retelling of the tale.
The seventh and last chapter,Amma(‘Mother’ in Tamil language) closes the projectA Myth of Two Souls, after 437 pictures published over seven books (2016-2021). To celebrate this epic saga, Chose Commune releases a very special book in close collaboration with the artist — a book with 60 photographs tipped-in by hand (printed and bound in Italy).
Ammais centered around the princess Sita and deals with the concept of ‘purity’. By no means a happy ending, the closure ofThe Ramayanaforces us to question Rama’s behaviour and his obedience to rules set by a patriarchal society. On the other hand, Sita’s beliefs and actions are free from culture. Sita means furrow in sanskrit, she is the daughter of the Earth.
The pictures composingAmmatake us from the seacoast of Sri Lanka, to the city of Ayodhya to the jungle of Bihar, India. Their chromatic scale recreate a world where civilization gradually disappears to leave room to a purely metaphysical space.The Ramayanahas neither end nor beginning. It represents the circle of life and therefore it will always be.