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Dates:      23 FEB-16 MARCH,2017


Bharat Tripathi’s art is inspired by an engagement with enduring themes drawn from religious and philosophical traditions of the India subcontinent; The Navdurga series(2009), the Dashavatar series (2011), The Story of Shiva (2012, The Tirthankars series (2014). In his current solo exhibition, Bharat turns his attention to the Ramayana, which with the Mahabharata, is one of the India’s perennial epics.

While the Mahabharata is classified as an itihasa, a ‘history’, the Ramayana is regarded as a mahakavya, a ‘great poem’. Attributed to the sage Valmiki and later re-interpreted by Kamban and Tulsidas, among other writers, the Ramayana tells the story of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, the seventh of Vishnu’s ten avators. It tells of his birth and youth, his marriage to the princess Sita, his fourteen year exile to the forest with Sita and his brother Lakshman, Sita’s abduction by the demon-king Ravana, Rama’s alliance with the Vanaras or monkey-people of Kishkinda, and of his campaign to subjugate Ravana’s island-kingdom of Lanka and rescue Sita. Rama and Sita’s return to Ayodhya cannot recapture the happiness of their early years. In a melancholy turn, the blameless Sita, under the shadow of Rama’s unfounded doubt, is banished to the forest, where their sons, Luv and Kush, are born. As Valmiki’s acolytes, they come to Ayodhya as boys. In an extraordinary literary move, the Ramayana tells us that they attend the sacrifice hosted by the king, their father and sing to him the story of his own life: the Ramayana itself.

Ranjit Hoskote

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