|Birthname||Mora, Mirka Madelaine|
|born on||18 March 1928 at 15:00 (= 3:00 PM )|
|Place||Paris, France, 48n52, 2e20|
|Timezone||GMT h0e (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||27°46' 14°46 Asc. 26°07'|
French-Australian artist, a Melbourne painter and textile sculptor held in affectionate public regard. In October 2000, her unconventional autobiography was published, "Wicked But Virtuous." A delightfully eccentric and candid account of a life lived to the utmost, it celebrates the highs and lows of Mirka's bohemian existence, her joie de vivre, her lovers, work, family and rich array of characters including the luminaries of the Melbourne art scene, who were drawn into her remarkable and wondrous realm.
Born to a Jewish Lithuanian father, a tailor, and a Romanian mother who met and married in Paris, Mirka was the oldest of three sisters. Raised in Paris, during WW II she was arrested on 7/16/1942 by Nazi authorities along with her sisters and mother for being Jewish. Barely escaping a convoy to Auschwitz, they obtained false papers a few weeks later, on 8/06/1942, and took jobs as domestics in rural France.
After the War, in 1945 Mirka worked as a monitor in a Jewish orphanage in Brittany. While there she met Georges Mora, a patent agent, who was 15 years her senior and they married in December 1947. Her parents had divorced the prior year and her mom immigrated to the U.S.
Mirka and Georges left France in 1951, visiting New York City for three months before settling in Melbourne. Mirka then new only a few words of English but they managed to run a succession of three landmark cafe-restaurants which became magnets for artists, writers and intellectuals – transplanting the flavor of Paris's Left Bank to otherwise staid and provincial Melbourne. The Mirka Café, 1954-58, was not only a novelty but the impetus for the revival of the Contemporary Art Society, which in turn led to the establishment of Melbourne's acclaimed Museum of Modern Art at Heide. The Balzac Restaurant, 1958-65, with it’s angel appliqués on the walls and copper leaves on the ceiling, and the Tolarno Hotel & Gallery, which she and Georges operated from 1965 to 1970, also were glamorous Continental landmarks in the Victorian capital. The couple had three sons before separating in 1970.
In mid-1952 Mirka had settled into an inner city studio where she worked at dressmaking when she was not in the restaurant, at the same time pursuing her painting. She was entirely self-taught as a painter, observing and absorbing the works of her friends and contemporaries. Children, fish and birds are constant themes in her works, often rendered through grotesque colorful figures with children's heads and animal wings and tails. In the early 1970s some of her erotic charcoal drawings appeared in Vogue magazine. Her works have included painted dolls, soft sculptures, plaster dolls, embroidery, mosaics and masks. Mirka's commissioned works in Melbourne include a painted tram, 1978, and a mural for a major railway station, 1985-86. Her sets, costumes and masks appeared in the ballet, "Ivan the Terrible," 1964, and the operas "Medea and Bacchae," 1979-80. For the 1988 Bicentennial festivities at the Sydney opera House, she designed 85 five-foot-high puppets on plywood, all painted with oil for the opera, "Bennelong," about the Aboriginal man of the same name who befriended Captain Phillip.
Throughout her long career, Mirka has run workshops in Australia, France, the USA and Japan, teaching art to everyone from children to jail inmates. In 1999 a major retrospective of her life's work was held at the Museum of Modern Art at Heide giving critical recognition and acclaim to her lifetime of artistic activity. As one reviewer remarked, "Mirka’s colourful, sensuous iconography has emerged from the extraordinary breadth of her interests and reading, her love of classical mythology, her desire to reclaim and make sense of childhood and familial relations, and her recognition of the power of sexual desire and the darker, more destructive aspects of human nature." Another review has, "Mirka Mora. You can't take her anywhere because she will keep on acting like the artist she is. Ask her out and she's likely to plunge her face into a cream cake, dance on the tabletop or startle strangers with her views on the wonder and beauty of the clitoris (don't ask, it's a long story). There's something about the impish 72-year-old, a
Gallic excess and unfailing enthusiasm that creates inspired chaos wherever she goes."
During 1993-94 Mirka Mora was diagnosed with cancer of the cervix and uterus, leading to a hysterectomy. A survivor, she moved past this trauma as another setback to overcome.
- Social : Begin Travel 1951 (Visited N.Y. before going on to Australia)
- Work : Start Business 1954 (Opened "The Mirka Café")
- Work : Start Business 1958 (Started "The Balzac Restaurant," six years)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1964 (Sets, costumes and masks appear in play)
- Work : Start Business 1965 (The Tolarno Hotel and Gallery, five years)
- Relationship : Divorce dates 1970 (From Georges)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1978 (Painted a tram)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1986 (Finish of mural of major railway station)
- Work : Begin Major Project 1988 (Painted/produced 85 puppets)
- Health : Medical diagnosis 1993 (Cancer of the cervix and uterus)
- Health : Medical procedure 1994 (Hysterectomy)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1999 (Exhibit of her work at the Museum of Modern Art)
Scholfield, Simon-Astley quotes her autobiography published in Melbourne, Penguin 2000, p.1.
- Traits : Personality : Eccentric
- Traits : Personality : Unique
- Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Cervix, uteran cancer)
- Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Surgery (Hysterectomy)
- Family : Childhood : Order of birth (First of four girls)
- Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (23 years)
- Family : Relationship : Mate - Age difference more than 15 yrs (Husband 15-years-older)
- Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Three sons)
- Lifestyle : Work : Skills - Multi-faceted
- Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work (International)
- Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate (France to Australia)
- Passions : Sexuality : Sex Organs (Hysterectomy)
- Passions : Criminal Victim : Social crime victim (Arrested for being Jewish, escaped camp)
- Vocation : Art : Commercial artist (Textile sculptor)
- Vocation : Art : Fine art artist
- Vocation : Art : Stage/ Set design
- Vocation : Business : Business owner (Two restaurants, one hotel)
- Vocation : Education : Teacher (Art)
- Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
- Vocation : Misc. : Tailor/Seamstress (Dressmaker)
- Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession