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Adam Elkhadem’s Legacy

Finding beauty in the mundane

Michelle Casas Groogan
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Adam Elkhadem

AN ARTIST’S QUEST Adam Elkhadem, who died tragically in May 2023 in a car accident, graduated from Columbia University in New York City in May 2018. While at Columbia, he created a Facebook community committed to the sport of glove-spotting.

The rules are simple. Spot a lost glove, take a photo, and post it on the Facebook page called Single Lost Glove. Lost gloves are the only photos you will find there, but this page is no lost-and-found service. Instead, it’s a synthesis of art and sport in the eyes of Adam Elkhadem, who, back in 2016, instigated the challenge while a college student at Columbia University.

Adam’s life ended tragically one year ago this month. But his legacy lives on. Today, there are more than 1,300 followers on the page committed to the sport of glove-spotting. 

“I don't post every single lost glove that I see because some are better than others,” said West University resident Mitchell Watson, a writer and filmmaker and one of Adam’s best friends. “Every single lost glove is going through the same existential moment because they're all part of a pair, and their life is forever altered when they get separated.”

single lost glove

A single lost glove featured on the Facebook page, which has grown to 1,300 followers.

Adam posted a few page rules, such as a prohibition against touching or posing with the separated glove. And the glove can't be discarded, only genuinely lost. Adam, a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, wrote that glove-spotting is “an appreciation of the tragic, indescribable beauty of a mundane situation.”

“There's so many things you can think about when you see one glove, like, ‘who was the person with the glove? What were they doing when they lost it? Where’s the other glove?’” Mitchell said. “That’s why I think it's so good – it's about trajectories, and it's about paths in life, and about realities.”

When Mitchell spots a glove, he thinks of Adam and his approach to the world. 

Joseph Elkhadem, Megan Lazarou, Allie Elkhadem, Adam Elkhadem

Adam pictured with his family while on vacation in Los Angeles in 2019. Pictured from left are Joseph Elkhadem, Megan Lazarou, Allie, and Adam.

Adam passed away on May 28, 2023. He was coming home from an outing with friends as the designated driver. The vehicle he was driving was hit head-on by a drunk driver going the wrong way on the Katy Freeway. Adam and the two young adults in the other car all died at the scene. 

Adam was just 26 years old – a heartbreakingly abbreviated lifetime filled with accomplishment. While he labored by day for the Harris County District Court, his passion unmistakably was art, in all its forms. Adam’s art covered a wide range of platforms including one novel, a published book of poetry called Poems Passed like Shapes in Dreams, a board game that he co-wrote, medical journal articles, and 28 album covers for bands. He was also the comics editor for Caesura Magazine. He published his own comic book called Octave The Artist and had another weekly comic strip called Gluck. The art he produced includes linocuts, drawings, paintings, and multimedia works. 

Adam lived in the Memorial-area home of his mom, Megan Lazarou, a marketing executive. She is surrounded by Adam’s life’s work and is still discovering his creative expression. 

“My house is full of drawings. There's about 150 pieces that we put into big portfolio holders to try to make sense of all the art,” Megan said. “I went in the garage, and I found pieces I had never seen before.” 

Adam Elkhadem

Adam pictured with his art on display at G Spot Gallery in the Heights.

Still ridden with the crippling grief of losing her son, Megan finds comfort in knowing about Adam’s near perpetual expression of human kindness — as in the wad of $2 bills she discovered in his coat pocket, destined for those in need.

“It’ll be my mission to help and support other mothers that have to go through this,” Megan said. “There's legislation that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is always involved in, and they need people to help push the message. As long as it's something that I can get behind, I'll be a participant.”

As far as Adam’s legacy, he will be remembered through his art collection. The family has created the Adam J. Elkhadem Foundation to provide financial and practical resources for artists to complete a performing and/or visual art project. 

untitled linocut

ADAM’S ART LIVES ON An untitled linocut Adam did in collaboration with his sister, Allie Elkhadem in 2020.

It is a legacy of virtue, creativity, and compassion which left a mark.

“He inherently believed that everybody was good, and that's kind of the way he lived his life,” said Joseph Elkhadem, Adam’s dad and a middle school assistant principal. “He always gave people the benefit of the doubt. He always saw the positive in everybody, even when somebody did something bad or wrong. He felt like it was just an isolated case. He never held it against the person. And I can't really say that about anybody else that I've known.”

Adam’s younger sister, 25-year-old Allie Elkhadem, a neurology technician, remembers his phone was always ringing, and he would always answer.

“He did so much as an individual, so much alone creating all his art,” said Allie. “But everyone remembers the countless times he was there for them or came and picked them up when their car broke down, or spoke on the phone with them for hours when they were scared.”   

Man with a Flower

Artwork by Adam titled Man with a Flower, 2017 created with nail polish and pencil on cardboard.

The one-year anniversary of Adam’s death will fall around the same time as the ten-year reunion of his senior class from HSPVA, where he will also be remembered. 

“Adam was a man of too many talents to name, but one that is particularly everlasting is his penchant for fostering community,” said Chandler Dean, a close friend and high school classmate. “He found more joy that I imagined possible in the smallest of life’s wonders and made every effort to share that joy with anyone who would listen. So it does not surprise me that a silly Facebook group he created on a lark continues to live on.”

There are hundreds of photos of single lost gloves posted on the page from all parts of the world. There is an original post from Adam that embodies the group’s mission: “It may seem like a joke, but once you start glove-spotting you will experience something truly rewarding and satisfying,” the post says. 

Adam Elkhadem, Richard Lazarou

Adam in Washington, D.C. with his grandfather, Richard Lazarou, one of the top contributors on the Single Lost Glove Facebook page.

This has proven to be true for the group’s top contributor, Richard Lazarou, Adam’s grandfather who never even owned a cell phone until just this year. He walks several miles a day motivated and inspired by his grandson’s mission, picking up some trash along the way, but searching for the treasure of finding a single lost glove, according to Richard’s daughter, Megan Lazarou. 

“He did so many impressive, ambitious things, and he did them with a love of life that was unparalleled,” Mitchell said. “And Single Lost Glove was a perfect example of the kind of fun and brilliant ideas he had.” 

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Adam J. Elkhadem Foundation please visit www.AJEfoundation.org or email [email protected].

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