Young Forest Hills artist and scholar Alexander Inagamov has done it again, winning another art contest — this one sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.
Alexander, 10, known as Sasha, entered the above work, “Mount Peacemore” in the ADL’s “Imagine a World Without Hate” contest. Sasha envisioned a takeoff on Mount Rushmore featuring various famous martyrs to the causes of peace and equality, all but one of whom were killed either for their beliefs or simply because of who they were.
He included drawings of Abraham Lincoln, the American president who freed the slaves and kept the United States intact during the Civil War; Mahatma (or Mohandas) Gandhi, who led India to independence from Britain through nonviolent means; Rosa Parks, who inspired the American civil rights revolution by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person; Yitzak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who signed the Oslo Accords granting the Palestinians partial control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a top leader of the American civil rights movement; Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager whose diary of life while hiding from the Nazis personified the horrors of the Holocaust; and Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter brutally killed by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
All but Parks were murdered, though Frank indirectly, when disease spread through the concentration camp in which she was being held.
In front of Sasha’s mountain stand four young people of different ethnicities and religions, the two on the end holding white doves of peace. Like the singer-songwriter John Lennon — also killed by an assassin’s bullets — Sasha can “imagine all the people, living life in peace.”
You might say he’s a dreamer, but he’s not the only one. The ADL selected Sasha, who just finished fifth grade at PS 175, as the winner in the elementary school division. The contest, called Artworks ADL Jr., was part of the organization’s 100th anniversary commemoration. The winners’ works were displayed at the Benrimon Contemporary Art Gallery in Manhattan.
Sasha’s parents, Shavkat and Marsha Shvets, were thrilled to see their son win.
“He worked very long at it,” Marsha Shvets said. “He thought of the historical figures he was going to put up there — he’s been reading a lot of history — and he got the idea for some of them when he learned about the Anti-Defamation League. I thought it was an interesting title he came up with, ‘Mount Peacemore.’”
Earlier this year, Sasha won a PBS poster competition; and he followed that up by winning an essay contest that marked the end of a curriculum on investing in the stock market. In his essay, Sasha recommended that The Walt Disney Co. buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production house behind the “Star Wars” movies. He got a new laptop as a prize, and his school held a special assembly in his honor.
Most recently, Sasha entered a journalism contest run by Time for Kids, a classroom magazine from the publishers of Time. He reported on the ADL artists’ show, interviewing the other winners and league officials. The results are due out this month.