Michele Oka Doner The Palm Goddess for Malta

14 October 2022

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The human form in ancient Malta has been celebrated as world patrimony since the dawn of art’s historical reference. The use of the figure even predates the building of stone temples, so primary is the human form to the culture of the island. 

To create a work of art capable of establishing a taproot in this great tradition presents a wonderful challenge. This visual language already speaks of priests, goddesses, earth mothers, and shamans. The fertile Maltese mind expresses both the mortal and the divine.

The Palm Goddess for Malta by American artist Michele Oka Doner is a work of art that embraces the figurative tradition of the ancient past. The sculpture also draws inspiration from the monumental leaves of Phoenix dactylifera, a palm that inhabits the Maltese archipelago.

This abstract but definitely female form is c.  4 metres high, a soaring figure held aloft on a c. 2 meters “trunk” that symbolises growth from the Maltese soil. Just as the vast majority of archaeological finds represent a deity, something sacred, The Palm Goddess for Malta embodies human aspiration and the desire to be lifted up and moved forward by creative expression.

The sculpture is cast in bronze and patinated green. Its palm motif is beautiful, timeless, and resonates with the striated skirts depicted on so many of the ancient figures found in the Maltese temples.

The Palm Goddess for Malta by Michele Oka Doner will be unveiled during the MICAS International Art Weekend 2022. 


Location: Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Republic Street, Valletta
Admission: Free. Booking is not required
Viewing times: open all day, Monday to Sunday
Enquiries: info@micas.art

The MICAS International Art Weekend 2022  is supported by the Ministry for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Visit Malta, Heritage Malta, Corinthia Palace Malta.

For any enquiries, please call on 21242183 or email events@micas.art




About the Artist

Michele Oka Doner is an internationally renowned artist whose career spans six decades. Her work is fuelled by a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world, from which she derives her formal vocabulary. The breadth of her artistic production encompasses sculpture, drawing, public art, functional objects, video, artist books, and costume and set design. She is well known for creating numerous permanent art installations throughout the United States, including Flight at Reagan International Airport, Arlington, VA; Radiant Site at the Herald Square MTA station, New York; and the mile and quarter bronze and terrazzo concourse, A Walk on the Beach at Miami International Airport, seen by 40 million travelers annually. Oka Doner’s work is found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Detroit Institute of Arts, The Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Victoria & Albert, London, and the University of Michigan, Oxford, Yale and Harvard university art museums, among others. She has received numerous awards, including those given by the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists, Pratt Institute, New York State Council of the Arts and the Knight Foundation. She was the first Artist in Residence at the New York Botanical Garden. In 2016 she received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, where she earned her undergraduate and MFA degrees. Oka Doner is the author or subject of numerous books, including Everything Is Alive (2017, Regan Arts) and Intuitive Alphabet (2017,Tra Publishing). Born and raised in Miami Beach, Michele Oka Doner was appointed Guardian of the City of Miami Beach’s Centennial Banyan Tree and represents Miami Beach as Ambassador for Arts and Culture in 2021. She maintains a home and studio in New York City.

Photo credit: Bruce Weber. Courtesy of Doner Studio, New York.

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