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Sita’s Ramayana [, ]



Moyna Chitrakar is an artist from the Patua scroll painting tradition. The paintings in this book have been adapted fit the page, but they are rendered in a style that wasn’t meant to be confined to such a small space—Patua scrolls are large and complex. Significantly, the Patua artist traditionally tells the story through song while unrolling the scroll and gesturing to images. Keep this in mind as you read Sita’s Ramayana. The images sometimes feel cramped on the page, and the juxtaposition between text and image is often awkward, but remembering the traditional manner of presenting these paintings will help you see past these small annoyances to appreciate the elgeance of Chitrakar’s art.

Sita’s Ramayana presents the Hindu epic the Ramayana from the perspective of Rama’s wife, Sita. In this version Rama’s noble character is taken as a given—even when Sita suffers as a result of Rama’s actions her love for him does not falter. Samhita Arni’s Sita does not tell us why she loves Rama. Instead she tells what happened, and how she felt about it. She tells us about her doubts and fears, and about the suffering she saw on both sides as Rama’s army made war on Lanka.

Sita’s Ramayana‘s is a quick retelling of the Ramayana, and differs from the classic version in ways that may make you eager to explore this famous story’s many variations. Moyna Chitrakar’s art is beautiful, and while more care might have been taken in the page design, lovers of traditional art and myth will find something to appreciate in this book.

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