Our Start

Humble local beginnings . . . Gone virtual!

Inauguration Kolam 2021 started with hundreds of artists, school children, and community groups creating kolam tiles at home to be assembled into America’s largest collaborative kolam for the 2021 presidential inauguration in a COVID-safe process. We also created a second digital kolam mosaic to enable additional ways to participate. It is a great time to learn about kolams and practice drawing at home! For inspiration, here's what we did:

  1. Kondattam ("celebration") Kolam is a physical kolam of 1800 handcrafted-cardboard tiles that will come together to become a 2500+ square foot groundcover in front of the US Capitol. The installation scheduled for January 16th has been postponed due to security concerns. Follow us on social media for updates.

  2. Vanakkam ("welcome") Kolam is a digital kolam mosaic made of individual kolam selfies (people could draw, color, or simply print a kolam and click a photo alongside). This digital kolam mosaic is interactive and enables you to see the individual submissions. While we no longer take submissions for the digital kolam mosaic, you can still post kolam selfies on social media. Be sure to tag #2021kolam!

Both the physical and digital kolam creations add a unique cultural touch for a warm and inclusive White House welcome. While the art is ephemeral, the message and spirit of welcome are timeless.

WHAT IS A KOLAM (pronounced kohl·uhm)?

An Indian art form of geometric patterns, the kolam is a sign of welcome. 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. Redrawn daily, kolams share the ephemeral and meditative qualities of Native American sand paintings and Buddhist mandalas.