Kolam Capitol:

Award-winning Indian American artist Shanthi Chandrasekar led a Kolam art installation April 24 at the U.S. Capitol. A Kolam is an Indian art form of geometric patterns, used as a welcome sign. (photo provided)

As a visual representation of President Joe Biden’s historic 100-day speech and the universal power of healing, the 2021 Kolam Art Installation weaved together a giant colorful kolam – embedded with thousands of individual stories – in front of the U.S. Capitol as a peace offering to the U.S. and the world.

A Kolam is a traditional South Indian art form featuring geometric design.

Award-winning Indian American artist Shanthi Chandrasekar led the installation April 24.

The project was initially created for the inauguration ceremonies of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris but was delayed because of the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to a press release.

The 1950-plus tile project is an “inter-generational collaborative public art offering in the spirit of Vice President Harris’ Tamil heritage,” it said.

A Kolam is how many women in Tamil Nadu greet each new day. This female 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, explained the press release. Traditionally hand-drawn with rice flour, Kolams are inclusive and eco-friendly.

Hundreds of Washington, D.C. public school children, senior citizen communities, a women’s correctional facility arts program, as well as artist and advocacy groups contributed tiles. For the project, each participant was asked to create a 12-by-12-inch cardboard tile.

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