Oded Halahmy (1938 - present)
Moon Tree, 1976
Height: 25 ¼ inches
Signed, dated, and numbered at base: ODED HALAHMY / 1976 / 2/5
From an edition of 5
The strength of Halahmy’s talent is apparent in his strong, lyrical sculptures. Each of his moving pieces, the bronze leaping out in unexpected directions, pays homage to his Iraqi roots and to his life, of which he has spent the last 35 years in New York City.
It was in his native Baghdad where Halahmy, at an early age, began making paintings and sculptures. His father, an affluent goldsmith, fully supported his artistic endeavors. His love of bronze stems from watching his father fashion beautiful objects in gold and silver. Halahmy first sculpted in clay and wood, but later began working with cast bronze, the material and process that excites and challenges him to this day.
Baghdad was the start of an artistic and geographical journey that has been integral to his life and work. Halahmy and his family were part of the large exodus of Iraqi Jewry to emigrate to Israel in 1951. In 1966, Halahmy was admitted to St. Martin’s School of Art in London, where his classmates included artists Richard Long and Gilbert & George. This was a period characterized by a spirit of camaraderie and inspiring artistic vitality. Halahmy was exposed to the influential faculty at St. Martin’s, including his studies under Anthony Caro and Phillip King, both important advocates of modern sculpture.
In 1968, Halahmy moved to Canada to accept a teaching position at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto. Having visited New York City on several occasions, Halahmy moved there in 1971, finding an art scene both charged and electrifying. In 1974, the U.S. Government, recognizing Halahmy’s talent, invited him to exhibit his works as part of the Bicentennial Celebration held in the Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan.
Halahmy’s sculptures are part of several important collections, including the Guggenheim, New York, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, as well as other public and private collections worldwide.
Halahmy’s lyrical abstract sculptures reference his native landscape and reflect the hieratic qualities of Mesopotamian sculpture. The works dance, while making reference to palm trees, gates, pomegranates and the moon. Halahmy sees these as universal symbols – the palm representing righteousness and growth and the pomegranate symbolizing love and fertility.