Indian kolam art at US Capitol celebrates power of healing

Marking Biden’s 100 days, art offering in spirit of Indian American VP Kamala Harris’ Tamil heritage. 

As India reels under a devastating second wave of Covid pandemic, a giant colorful eco friendly Indian art installation in front of the US Capitol celebrated the universal power of healing.

The 2021Kolam art installation weaved together a giant colorful kolam – – embedded with thousands of individual stories – as a peace offering to the US and the world,  also marked President Joe Biden’s 100 days in office.
Initially created for the inauguration ceremonies of Biden and his Indian American Vice-President Kamala Harris, the project was delayed because of the January 6th insurrection,  according to a press release.

The 1950+-tile Inauguration Kolam 2021 project is an inter-generational collaborative public art offering in the spirit of Harris’ Tamil heritage. Award-winning artist Shanthi Chandrasekar led the 2021Kolam art installation on Saturday April 24 in front of the US Capitol.

RELATED: India’s Kolam art kicks off Biden-Harris inauguration festivities (January 17, 2021))

A kolam (pronounced kohl·uhm) is how many women in Tamil Nadu greet each new day. This fem-powered art form has both meditative qualities and deep significance.

Drawn outside homes, the beautiful designs made of dots and lines provide a sense of joy and calm to all who enter. Traditionally hand-drawn with rice flour, kolams are inclusive and eco-friendly (inviting ants & birds to partake in the ephemeral beauty).

For the 2021Kolam, each participant was asked to pour love, goodness and positive energy around paper dots to create a 12”x12” cardboard tile.

Each tile represents an unique story woven together in a beautiful mosaic; the weave of stories is extraordinary and more beautiful than any single story alone.

Hundreds of DC public school children, senior citizen communities, a women’s correctional facility arts program, as well as artist and advocacy groups contributed tiles.

“After a difficult winter including unprecedented violence and hate, our community in DC and nationwide is proud to kick off Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with this wonderful display of art, peace, love, and diversity,” stated Kishan Putta, Washington DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner.

Also, Congress members Jaime Raskin (MD) and David Trone (MD) and Michigan State Representative Padma Kuppa have submitted video messages in support.

See the Kolam 2021 Installation Highlights Video here.

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