Gigantic Indian ‘Kolam’ outside US Capitol to usher unity, renewal and hope


As India going through an unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Indian Americans have come together at the US Capitol to raise awareness and support by creating a giant colorful Indian art installation in front of the Capitol Building called ‘Kolam.’

The “2021Kolam” art installation is created with giant colorful ‘Kolam’ – a South Indian art form, embedded with thousands of individual stories to usher in timeless wisdom, unity, renewal, and hope.

This comes right before the weekend of Biden’s 100-days speech calling on Congress to unite behind the American families and at a time when India could use world prayers.

Award-winning artist Shanthi Chandrasekar led the 2021Kolam art installation on Saturday, April 24, 2021, in front of the US Capitol.

A similar expression was done during the inauguration speech of Biden and Harris, however, the complete project was delayed because of the January 6th insurrection.

The 1951+-tile Inauguration Kolam 2021 project is an inter-generational collaborative public art offering in the spirit of Harris’ Tamil heritage.

“This is the first time in front of the Capitol building and each tile has a different pattern which gives the feeling of different people and different communities coming together,” Chandrasekar told indica News.

Kolam is a tradition that has been followed for thousands of years in South Indian houses, is a way of greeting or welcoming someone. It is often drawn right outside one’s home in beautiful and intricate geometrical patterns that has both meditative qualities and deep significance. . Traditionally hand-drawn with rice flour, kolams are inclusive and eco-friendly.

However, Chandrasekar told indica News while working on this project, they were not looking at the religious aspects but more on its cultural offering.

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 a 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.