As a younger lady 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 were evenly spaced, like a matrix, and then, weaved a line through those dots, ensuring symmetry. I was intrigued not only by the beauty and harmony of the dots and lines, but also by its impermanence,” says Chandrasekar.
Last month, the self-taught artist imparted classes on this conventional Indian artwork 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 artwork 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 symbol of welcome and a reminder to enter the house with positive energy,” provides Maryland-based Chandrasekar.
Conceptualised in December by Chandrasekar, alongside together with her mates Roopal Shah and Sowmya Somnath, contributors 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 can be put collectively to cowl 2,500 sq. toes groundcover close to the US Capitol. “The kolam tiles can be arranged in different patterns. We asked people to put their energy into it, whatever they felt they could fill in that space, and that is something they really enjoyed,” says Chandrasekar.
While 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 contributors come from diverse age teams, three to 95, and throughout professions, be it artists or academics. “The response has been way beyond our expectation,” provides the multidisciplinary artist.
While 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 artwork. “Kolams are very mathematical and follow certain rules that include closed loops, which don’t overlap more than once and should have at least one form of symmetry. Over the years, I have created my own patterns and come up with complex combinations. I learned about fractal systems and tessellations through this art form,” says Chandrasekar, including how her childhood on the Department of Atomic Energy township in Kalpakkam — the place her father labored — and her background in psychology, aided her find connections between artwork, math and science.
When her son and daughter took up neuroscience programs in faculty, she started to review the topic extra intently. “Much of my research has focussed on space, space-time, time, energy, fields as well as neuroscience-based topics such as memories and neurons,” provides Chandrasekar. The end result are sequence equivalent to ‘Memories and Patterns’, the place she brings out the “connectedness of the oligodendrocytes and the axons” and “Mapping Black Holes” and “Moksha Black Hole” “borrowed concepts from neuroscience and cosmology to create a black hole that draws in information that is received and transmitted by neurons, thus leading to voids in processing and distortions of reality.”
The ‘Akshara’ (Syllable) sequence, however, celebrated her fascination for languages. “Combining scientific fact and theories with my wild imagination has been fruitful in creating artwork that questions our known reality and seeks to learn more about the unknown,” she provides.