Art & Design Sculpture USA

Floating head of a freedom thinker

This sculpture, created by Peter Shapiro (c. 1969) stands outside The Russia House in Washington D.C., a place where quite the volume of vodka gets consumed. Reason enough to have your head in your hands but that is just a diverting, erroneous, back story.

The featured figure is Andrei Sakharov, Russian nuclear physicist behind the design of the world’s largest hydrogen bomb who transformed into a leading human rights activist. He published an article in 1968 on peaceful co-existence which tackled the dangers of the arms race between the Soviet Union and the USA. It led to him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Sakharov gave his name to the Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded annually by the European Parliament since 1988. The first recipients were Nelson Mandela and Anatolia Marchenko. In 2013 the prize went to Malala Yousafzai, the young campaigner for the rights to education for girls, who survived an assassination attempt on her life by the Taliban in Pakistan.

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