THIS traditional Indian design was used to kickoff Biden and Harris inauguration ceremony

Kolam symbolises positivity and new beginnings. Pictures of thousands of Kolam drawings made by people from different backgrounds were woven into a video to welcome President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Updated on Jan 20, 2021 07:33 AM IST  |  102.2K
THIS traditional Indian design was used to kickoff Biden and Harris inauguration ceremony
THIS traditional Indian design was used to kickoff Biden and Harris inauguration ceremony

For the virtual kick-off ceremony of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and his deputy, Kamala Harris more than 1800 individuals from across the US and many from India created thousands of kolam designs to celebrate this historic event.

Kolam is a traditional Indian art form of drawing geometric patterns on the floors as a sign of welcome. Harris traces her origin to Tamil Nadu, where women draw Kolams on the ground to invite health and prosperity into houses where they are displayed and where these auspicious designs adore almost every household.

Pictures of thousands of Kolam tiles were on Saturday woven into a video to welcome Biden and Harris in the spirit of 'Presidency for All' and to showcase the multi-cultural heritage of America.

Shanthi Chandrasekar who is an award-winning multimedia and multidisciplinary artist from Maryland said that many believe kolams symbolise positive energy and new beginnings and people of all ages from various communities collaborated from their homes to create tiles with eco-friendly materials. 

Hundreds of artists, citizens and students from across the country collaborated online to combine thousands of local pieces.

The response has been “way beyond our expectations,” she said. “We have people send in their tiles from all the way from California, Boston, New Jersey and many places. From daycares to people in their 90s have participated in this. The response has been amazing,” she said.

Students from ten public schools in Washington DC participated in making the kolam art. Lambert said the District of Columbia Public School arts curriculum focuses on equity and believes cultural representation is an important part of that effort.

Washington DC Public Schools arts director Mary Lambert and visual arts manager Lindsey Vance joined Chandrasekar to combine thousands of kolam drawings made by people from different backgrounds to welcome President-elect Joe Biden when he takes office in a few days.

This project gave students an opportunity to learn about another culture and the math skills needed for creation in the arts. 

Initially, the idea was to have these kolam designs from across the country in front of the White House as a symbol of good beginning to the new administration. The Washington DC police later permitted the organizers to have it near the Capitol Hill, around the inauguration venue. However, due to the unprecedented security measures that have been enforced in Washington DC, the permission was cancelled.

Shekar Narasimhan, who is a major Democratic fundraiser whose niece and grandniece joined many others to make tiles for the Inauguration Kolam, supported the project.

“I am so grateful and honoured to be able to share my love for kolams through the #2021kolam community project. The real celebrities are the children who have invested so much of themselves into beautifying the dots and the shapes around them that will come together for our collaborative welcome offering for Inauguration Kolam #2021,” said Chandrasekar.

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Credits: Hindustan Times, Getty Images

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