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Ramayana on the Mekong is a painted poem of the Rama Jataka/Phra Lak Phra Lam – a Lao telling of the Indian epic The Ramayana. It re-imagines the saga taking place along the Mekong River rather than the Ganga, and tells us as much about Lao culture in the 14th century as it does about Rama and Sita.
Inspired by the simultaneous narration technique found in Indian miniature paintings, I have set this work in the Naga city of Vientiane and layered it with Lao language quotations from battle scenes in the Rama Jataka. ‘Lak’ is Lao for ‘Laksmana’ and ‘Lam’ is ‘Rama’. Rama and Laskmana are believed to be twins or the ‘solid mandala’ in Lao culture.
- Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, 2016