The Hindu epic Ramayana, or “Rama’s Journey,” was a source of inspiration for artists throughout India. Working in different contexts, they continually reimagined the way scenes and characters should be depicted. For at least two millennia, in Sanskrit and many vernacular languages, authors and bards have been retelling the sweeping story of the divine hero Rama, his wife Sita, his brother Lakshmana, and their demonic enemy Ravana. In effect, many different Ramayana accounts developed in localized regions and communities.
Unifying the varied styles and media of the works on view, dating from the 1700s to 2000s, are the core narrative and consistent cast of characters. The scenes provoke questions about the nature of divinity, good and evil, justice, and destiny through a story that is endlessly adaptable, simultaneously specific and universal.