Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Mirka Mora - 85 years young

I've been holding off writing about local identity the artist Mirka Mora for ages. I've been wanting to photograph her as she walks the streets of Richmond pushing her pram laden with dolls, treasures, supermarket shopping and all sorts of other paraphenalia. How much more enchanting to see an older woman with a pram rather than a 'wheelie walker'. Why is it that when you want to see someone you have seen constantly that suddenly you can't find them anywhere! It's rather like losing a treasured object at home and then suddenly it turns up. Well sadly Mirka and the pram haven't turned up. But I want to celebrate her 85th birthday so I can't wait any longer!

Detail of the mosaic at Flinders Street Station
Mirka is unique and I love that her artwork adorns Melbourne in surprising places. Perhaps my favourite piece is the mosaic at Flinders Street Station. It is virtually hidden by the hideous Taberet sign out the front but it is worth fighting your way through the crowds rushing past. You will find it on the southern wall nearest the Yarra. Whenever I pass it I stop to have a look. Suddenly others will stop also - it's amazing how nosey people are!
What talent
Of course it includes her famed 'doll' faces and other fantastical images. That is what makes Mirka's art so fascinating. It is like no other. 
Happy sunny faces
Mirka's work is of course featured at the St Kilda restaurant - Mirka at Tolano now run by renowned chef Guy Grossi of Grossi Florentino fame. Tolano Galleries was founded by Mirka's husband Georges as an art gallery and later became the Tolano Restaurant. I have fond memories of spending many an evening in the crowded and popular restaurant enjoying the quirkiness of Mirka's wall paintings which have been 'saved' hopefully for prosterity. 
The Dining Room at Mirka at Tolano (from their website)
Mirka needs no surname in this city. This creative icon seems never to have said no to a blank wall - or even an elephant. In an earlier post on 4 September 2012  I noted that she had painted one of the elephants dotted around the city to celebrate the 150th year of the Melbourne Zoo. There seems to be no stopping her.
Mirka's elephant with her trademark 'angels'
So prolific is our Mirka that even our local french patisserie is also emblazoned with her work. In an earlier post of 10 July 2012 I spoke of the delicious calorie laden Almost French in nearby Swan Street. Mirka adorns the walls - after all with her French background what could be more appropriate. 
Almost French mural
 Her creative life continues apace - I read recently that she has just designed an iPhone cover!
What an inspiration. Age seems not to have wearied her. And so I say Joyeux Anniversaire Mirka - 85 years young. (And I will keep searching for Mirka and her pram) You'll find her book Wicked but Virtuous in the 'library' at the Cottage - happy reading.

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