Deborah Halpern is embedded in the Australian visual vernacular. In 1989, she was commissioned to produce ‘Angel’ – a large mosaic sculpture that sat in the National Gallery of Victoria’s moat until 1996, when it was relocated to Birrarung Marr. That same year, her sculpture ‘Ophelia’ was elected the ‘Face of Melbourne’ by Tourism Victoria.
Halpern’s imagery is exuberant, cartoonish and drenched in joy. It recalls Ken Done and Jenny Kee, as well as art history’s titans Pablo Picasso, Antoni Gaudi and Niki de Saint Phalle, all of whom revelled too in play, curiosity and imagination. Halpern was honoured with a retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2006 and in 2012, was invited to participate in the JingAn International Sculpture Project in Shanghai, China. Not only a celebrated artist, she is also a devout philanthropist.