Is it a surprise that there are many similarities between the age-old Hindu epos Ramayana and Othello, Shakespeare’s 17th century tragedy? It shouldn’t be. Both tales are about love, deceit, sacrifice, distrust, innocence, jealousy and egoism. Both are about all those characteristics that make humans human; traits that exist since the beginning of mankind and that will last until the end of time. The fact that Ramayana and Othello were conceived in different periods and in different cultures in the East and the West underlines the universality of their themes: their similar stories and intrigues clearly speak to people all over the planet.
Both stories spoke to artist Alex Vermeulen. A humanist globetrotter in the true sense of the word, Alex Vermeulen is always open to investigate similarities and differences between cultures in order to understand what it means to be human.
Alex is at ease in the concrete jungle of New York, the culmination of capitalist culture, as well as in the vast and mysterious nature of Asia. Therefore, it made complete sense to me when he announced to be working on The Epic, inspired by Othello and the Ramayana, the two epic stories from Great Britain and India.
The Epic, brimming with Alex Vermeulen’s love for science, history, myths and design, can be regarded as a gesamtkunstwerk that aims to connect humans all over the globe by showing what it means to be human. Ingeniously playing with dimensions and time, this retro-futuristic or futuristic-retro work tells us that we are much more than just the organisms that are alive here and now: we consist of everything that once was and we carry the future already inside of us.
In that respect, The Epic is a work for all of us.
A work for you and for me.