MIRKA MORA

 

Mirka Mora was born in Paris in 1928, and immigrated to Australia with her husband Georges in 1951.  Her early training was in mime and drama at the Ecole Jean-Louis Barrault, but she had already begun to focus on painting by the time she reached Australia.  She and Georges were instrumental in the re-establishment of the Contemporary Art Society in Melbourne from 1953, with their apartment on Collins Street being the meeting place and gallery for the CAS in the early years. Georges and Mirka also helped bring sophisticated European dining to 1950s Melbourne,  opening the Mirka Café in Exhibition Street in 1954, then the Balzac in East Melbourne in 1958 (the first Melbourne restaurant to receive a 10pm liquor licence) and finally Tolarno in St Kilda
in 1965.
 
A colleague and friend of artists including Arthur Boyd, John Perceval, Joy Hester, Charles Blackman, Laurence Hope and Dawn and Ian Sime, Mirka has become one of Melbourne’s
best known and loved artists.  Her public commissions, including a tram, mosaic murals at Flinders Street Station and St Kilda Pier, and murals at Tolarno and elsewhere, have enlivened the city.  Her workshops in painting and doll-making, especially those for children, are remembered with great delight and fondness. 
 
A retrospective of her work, Where Angels Fear to Tread: 50 Years of Art, held at Heide Museum of Modern Art in 1999-2000, was an enormous popular success, as was her autobiography, Wicked but Virtuous, published by Penguin Books in 2000.  A second book, Love and Clutter, also published by Penguin was released in November 2003. 
 
Mirka has had around thirty-five solo exhibitions since 1956, including a retrospective exhibition of fifty years of her work at Heide Museum of Modern Art in 1999-2000. She was awarded the Officier des Artes et des Lettres by the French government in 2002.

The collections which Mirka's work features in includes the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; Ararat Regional Gallery; Myer Collection; Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne; National Australia Bank, Melbourne; Council for Adult Education, Melbourne; Federation Tapestry, Melbourne Museum; St Kilda Pier Entrance Pavilion; Bennelong, National Theatre Trust, Sydney; Cosmos Bookshop, Melbourne; Flinders Street Station, Melbourne; Adelaide Festival Centre; Perth Festival; Ayr Community Library, Queensland; Burdekin Library and Theatre, Sydney; Balzac Restaurant, Melbourne; Tolarno Restaurant, Melbourne; The Bacchae and Medea, Playbox Theatre, Melbourne; Painted Tram, Victorian Ministry of the Arts, Melbourne; Christmas stamp designs, Australia Post; numerous private collections in Australia and overseas.