Monday, June 22, 2009

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and MIRKA MORA


I'm sitting at the bus stop as trains have been cancelled due to track work (how unusual for Sydney). My bus also looks as if it's been hijacked so I'll grab these precious moments to write about an artist I've loved for years. Who could not love Mirka Mora? When I hear the word 'bohemian', Mirka is one of those people who instantly come to mind.

Stunningly beautiful at every age, Mirka still loves to utter her mischievous statements to the media. In an interview to promote her autobiography, Wicked But Virtuous: My Life, she asked the reporter if he liked foreplay. She was 72 at the time and so age hasn't dimmed her cheeky spark.

I ran into her when I was an art student at COFA in Paddington. I was in the nearby art shop buying brushes and standing right next to me was MIRKA with a young man (it could have been her son or lover). I was trembling with excitement. Now if it had been Brad Pitt or some other movie star I wouldn't have been so worked up but artists and writers always leave me awed and 'star-struck'. I longed to scream, Mirka! And throw myself at her but in true Sydney 'too cool for school' style I looked right through her as if to say, 'Mirka who?'

A mischievous impulse came over me as I watched her paying for her items, I looked at my paint brushes and I wanted to rub them all over her! Absorb her talent, her genius, her whimsical joy for life. I wanted to saturate my brushes with Mirka's essence and then run to my studio and paint angels and dolls and colours that were prayers on my canvas.

But I merely sneaked one last peep and left the shop. Some days I regret that I didn't follow the impulse. Mirka might have approved if I did.

And so for Magnificent Monday may I present the luminous Mirka Mora. The people of Melbourne are fortunate to have her living amongst them. She must elevate that city closer to the angels with her presence. She makes me smile, she moves me with her joy and stimulates me with her intellect. People like Mirka make this planet a more joyous world to inhabit. Mirka Mora brings us closer to the artistic wisdom of children, saints, poets and the language of flowers. Whether she's cutting holes in her clothing for her nipples to poke through to enliven a dull party or asking an interviewer if he likes foreplay, Mirka has never lost her love of being outrageous.

Mirka's art and life has the power of a small child's prayer in the darkness. She is not afraid when she expresses herself and there her power lies. She has the innocent soul of a child. An inspiring, enchanting artist and mother, she survived the Holocaust (her family narrowly escaped being sent to Auschwitz), cancer and a breakdown but still retains her joy and passion for life.

If you would like to read more about this charming, eccentric artist then I highly recommend her autobiography, Wicked But Virtuous: My Life. It's one of my favourite art books and is loaded with terrific Mirka quotes and sensational photographs. I'm still trying to hunt down her second book Love and Clutter as I feel Mirka and I would get along very well with our ideas on home interior design. Her small cluttered house has become legendary, filled with books, dolls and artworks. Inside Out did a feature on her home a couple of years ago, an issue I treasure.

I hope one day to be affluent enough to buy an original Mirka to hang on my wall.

I love Mirka not only for her inspiration and art, but for her red lipstick, her affirmations that she spends money on good skin care rather than food (it must have worked because she has truly beautiful skin) and for inspiring quotes like this one:

"I'm greedy with life; every minute is special. It's your life, you can never get that minute again.

And so for this week I'm going to aim to bring the joy of the child into my creativity and days. I took my daughter to preschool this morning and wore bright red lipstick in homage to Mirka. On the walk home I looked around me asking how Mirka would view that walk. It was a fascinating exercise. Hope you have a joyous, creative and fun week and I'll be back on Wednesday for a quick chit-chat!

Be Happy, Kind, Play Safe and Stay Creative. xx


  1. Hi Josephine - thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment. Who knows, maybe now my dream of getting to meet Kate Morton is more of a possibility than I thought :P ha ha. I have so enjoyed her books.

    I've enjoyed reading your blog very much and you've now been added to my "i read" list! Your writing is gorgeous and vibrant, and I also like the fact you seem to like Frida Kahlo as much as I do :D Hope you have a lovely creative and productive week xx

  2. Hello :)

    I've already lost track of how I found your blog, but anyway ... glad I did. Great writing!!


  3. Love Mirka's smile in that shot. Say's it all really.

  4. Yes, I agree that her smile has always been radiant. Mirka is forever gorgeous!

  5. Thanks for introducing me to this artist... I love discovering new people and becoming inspired by their work. You brought a smile to my face with the image of you rubbing your brushes all over her! xo

  6. You introduced me to the wonderful Lady Gaga and so I have now returned the favour! xx


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