Indian-American artist Shanthi Chandrasekar on creating kolam art patterns for Joe Biden’s inauguration, and her childhood influences

As a younger woman who would spend her holidays in Kallakurichi (Tamil Nadu), Shanthi Chandrasekar fastidiously watched her grandmother draw a kolam outdoors her home. “First, she drew dots that had been evenly spaced, like a matrix, and then, weaved a line by these dots, guaranteeing symmetry. I used to be intrigued not solely by the wonder and concord of the dots and strains, but additionally by its impermanence,” says Chandrasekar.

Final month, the self-taught artist imparted classes on this conventional Indian art type of drawing geometric patterns on the ground to hundreds of thousands internationally by movies circulated as a part of ‘Inauguration Kolam 2021’, a collaborative public art initiative featured as a part of the official Presidential Inauguration Committee Kick-off occasion within the US. The volunteers will presumably bodily assemble the design in Washington DC in April. “Kolams are a logo of welcome and a reminder to enter the home with optimistic vitality,” provides Maryland-based Chandrasekar.

Shanthi Chandrasekar, Joe Biden, Joe Biden inauguration, Shanthi Chandrasekar Joe Biden inauguration, Shanthi Chandrasekar kolam art, Shanthi Chandrasekar kolam art joe biden, Shanthi Chandrasekar artist, Shanthi Chandrasekar inauaguration day, what are kolams, inauguration day kolams, inauguration day news, joe biden inauguration day, kamala harris, kamala harris news Whereas the kolam mat considerably displays the shared South Asian heritage between Chandrasekar and Vice President Kamala Harris, the artist notes the way it additionally represents an amalgamation between math and art. (Tony Ventouris Pictures)

Conceptualised in December by Chandrasekar, together with her mates Roopal Shah and Sowmya Somnath, individuals from throughout the US had been invited to create patterns on cardboard tiles and mail them. To information them, Chandrasekar despatched out directions by movies and drawings. Over 1,800 of those shall be put collectively to cowl 2,500 sq. toes groundcover close to the US Capitol. “The kolam tiles could be organized in numerous patterns. We requested individuals to place their vitality into it, no matter they felt they may fill in that house, and that’s one thing they actually loved,” says Chandrasekar.

Whereas 10 colleges throughout Washington DC have been roped in for the bodily kolam, the digital model consists of particular person entries from internationally, together with from India. The individuals come from assorted age teams, three to 95, and throughout professions, be it artists or lecturers. “The response has been means past our expectation,” provides the multidisciplinary artist.

Whereas the kolam mat considerably displays the shared South Asian heritage between Chandrasekar and Vice President Kamala Harris, the artist notes the way it additionally represents an amalgamation between math and art. “Kolams are very mathematical and comply with sure guidelines that embrace closed loops, which don’t overlap greater than as soon as and ought to have not less than one type of symmetry. Over time, I’ve created my very own patterns and provide you with complicated mixtures. I realized about fractal methods and tessellations by this art type,” says Chandrasekar, including how her childhood on the Division of Atomic Vitality township in Kalpakkam — the place her father labored — and her background in psychology, aided her to find connections between art, math and science.

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When her son and daughter took up neuroscience programs in school, she started to check the topic extra intently. “A lot of my analysis has focussed on house, space-time, time, vitality, fields in addition to neuroscience-based subjects equivalent to recollections and neurons,” provides Chandrasekar. The result are collection equivalent to ‘Recollections and Patterns’, the place she brings out the “connectedness of the oligodendrocytes and the axons” and “Mapping Black Holes” and “Moksha Black Gap” “borrowed ideas from neuroscience and cosmology to create a black gap that pulls in info that’s acquired and transmitted by neurons, thus resulting in voids in processing and distortions of actuality.”

The ‘Akshara’ (Syllable) collection, on the opposite hand, celebrated her fascination for languages. “Combining scientific truth and theories with my wild creativeness has been fruitful in creating paintings that questions our recognized actuality and seeks to study extra concerning the unknown,” she provides.

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