To honor Kamala Harris, these women are bringing a traditional Indian art form to D.C., made by thousands of hands

A traditional South Indian art form will head toward the U.S. Capitol to welcome President Biden and Vice President Harris, in part as a nod to Harris’s Tamil heritage.

Called a kolam, it will form a quilt-like ground cover made from about 2,000 individual tiles decorated by people across the country. They will be woven together and offered as a cultural touchstone and greeting for the new administration and vice president, whose mother was an Indian immigrant.

Three women joined forces in late November to spearhead Inauguration Kolam 2021 and produce the sprawling crowdsourced public welcome — all on recycled cardboard. It is modeled after the geometric Indian art traditionally created by women.

A kolam is made of a grid of dots and lines; the dots symbolize hardships in life, and the lines that surround the dots represent the process of navigating challenges. The final product is a mosaic of sorts, depicting the collective human capacity to overcome obstacles. Traditionally, kolams are drawn using rice flour or chalk, and are placed outside a home’s doorstep to welcome guests.

By Sidney Page, The Washington Post

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