Fridley Senior wins gold at national art competition

Fridley High School senior Amir Khadar has again placed high in fine arts competition; this time on the national level.

Amir Khadar pictured with Congressman Keith Ellison at the Congressional Arts Competition. (Photo provided by Fridley Public Schools)
Amir Khadar pictured with Congressman Keith Ellison at the Congressional Arts Competition. (Photo provided by Fridley Public Schools)

Khadar received a record-setting six Scholastic Art and Writing Awards from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Khadar is also the first Fridley student to win a scholastic gold medal at a national level.

“I feel a lot of validation from winning these awards because in terms of technical skill I am self-taught,” said Khadar.

Khadar’s digital art piece, Black Barbie Beauty Project, which won him a gold medal, was his first complete art piece.

“That piece is kind of what started my journey this year,” said Khadar. “I made it in the summer and it was completely spontaneous and it was the first time I planned out an art piece independently and made it myself. It was almost a spiritual experience.”

His other winnings are:

• Unsolicited Advice to a Gay Boy in the Back of a Classroom Who Can’t Say No. Silver Medal, American Voices nomination

• WitchCraft. Gold Medal, Poetry

• That is Not My Job. Gold Medal, Editorial Cartoon

• Trump’s Presidential Cabinet. Gold Medal, Editorial Cartoon

• Safety Pin Solution. Silver Medal, Editorial Cartoon

“A lot of my inspiration comes from my identity as a queer black person,” said Khadar. “I think that is generally when it comes from and I think it is important.”
His poem, WitchCraft, was inspired by his genetic connection to Louisiana Voodoo Queen Marie Catherine Laveau.

Fridley Senior Amir Khadar’s Gold Medal winning Black Barbie Beauty Project. (Submitted photo)
Fridley Senior Amir Khadar’s Gold Medal winning Black Barbie Beauty Project. (Submitted photo)

“She is my favorite character’s in general but also her real life legacy had a real impact on my family,” said Khadar. “I made a connection with her because I’m West African Creole so we are genetically connected so I thought it was interesting to see that lineage.”

Out of the over 330,000 works submitted, less than one percent are recognized at the national level. The awards include 29 categories, such as poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, and video game design. Alumni of the prestigious awards include Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, Zac Posen and Lena Dunham.

With the national recognition, Khadar has been invited to the National Ceremony on June 8 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

This fall, Khadar plans to attend the Maryland Institute of Art on a full scholarship.

“I don’t know if art is going to be my long-term career but I know I am going to be an artist for the rest of my life,” said Khadar. “My visual art and my writing are very important to me and I want to find a way to incorporate those without having to drop one. Activism is also really important to me so I want to see how those three will intersect.”

Additionally, Khadar won first place at the Congressional Art Competition. His winning piece will be displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.

Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]