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Earth Mother by Deborah Halpern – National Palace Museum’s open-air sculpture park in Taiwan. 

By Alexa Peterson / Art News

Melbourne based artist Deborah Halpern and her business partner Jon Michail have adapted to COVID-19 induced lockdown, conducting international business over Zoom calls and have secured the leading place in the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum’s open-air sculpture park in Taibao City, Chiayi, Taiwan. 

During Melbourne’s long lockdown, like many small businesses, they have had to pivot to overcome challenges that face them and restrictions affecting their normal operations. Deborah Halpern, a renowned artist of sculpture, painting, pottery, glass blowing and printmaking, has adjusted to these times by continuing to create and by maintaining a positive and future-focused mindset; she chooses to see this experience as an opportunity to be productive. 

This meant that the extensive lockdown became a time where award-winning sculpture artist Deborah Halpern and Jon Michail, founder and group CEO of Image Group International, could hone in on international and virtual opportunities. Most significantly, the lobbying of her artwork to the open-air sculpture park. 

The lobbying of this submission was assisted/conducted by Jon Michail, using technology such as Zoom to negotiate and create the successful deal. Jon and Deborah have worked together for many years, combining forces this time to develop a way to pivot in this time of global crisis and change. 

Deborah’s artwork was the only Australian submission to the sculpture park and is one of two international artworks featured. The iconic piece (as seen in above image), is titled Earth Mother and weighs six tonnes and is five metres tall. The piece is a metal sculpture and symbolises the mother of the earth and the duality of softness and stability.  It is her first work to be featured in a permanent museum collection.   

The permanent exhibition features both modern and traditional pieces, some from indigenous artists, and is designed to create “an ark of art” to connect the past and the present. It opened on the 4th of November 2020.

More locally, she currently is working on several projects, including four sculptures that are each six metres tall, a project for the City of Casey and has more international plans in the works. 

Deborah Halpern is a multi-disciplinary artist, who works with the mediums of sculpture, painting, pottery, glass blowing and printmaking. She is known for her large brightly coloured mosaic sculpture works; Angel, located at Birrarung Marr and Ophelia, alongside the Yarra River in South Gate, Melbourne.