3A. Mirka Mora

One of the Hotel’s features is our rooms are named after Australian artists. Room 3A, our twin share rooms, is named after Mirka Mora.

Mirka Mora (18 March 1928 – 27 August 2018) was a French-born Australian visual artist and cultural figure who contributed significantly to the development of contemporary art in Australia. Her media included drawing, painting, sculpture and mosaic.

Mirka, French-born artist and restaurateur, narrowly escaped Auschwitz as a girl. Having trained in drama in Paris, by 1951, when she came to Melbourne with her husband, Georges, she was committed to painting. Soon the couple became friends with the city’s leading artists and collectors, and were instrumental in the re-formation of the Contemporary Art Society.

Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s they opened the European-style Mirka Café in Exhibition Street (the first Melbourne café with outdoor seating), then Balzac in East Melbourne (the first restaurant with a licence to serve liquor after 10pm) and finally the Tolarno in St Kilda in 1966. While Georges established himself as an art dealer, opening Tolarno Galleries in 1967, Mirka became a bohemian icon of the city. Having worked prolifically for six decades across a range of media – including painting, drawing, embroidery, soft sculpture and doll-making – she is represented in many state and regional collections.

Her mosaics decorate Flinders Street Station, she painted a tram, and in 2007 she was commissioned by new owner Guy Grossi to repaint the original murals with her characteristic softly rounded, angelic figures for his re-launched restaurant, Mirka at Tolarno Hotel. Mirka’s undimmed gusto and creative expression are highlighted by her 2016 collaboration with iconic Australian fashion label Gorman, two years before she died at the age of 90. Acknowledged for her formative influence on Melbourne’s cultural identity, Mirka was loved as much for her contributions to contemporary art as for her generous and outrageous nature.

Mora’s critical reputation has remained steady after her death. In The Age, Peter Millard calls her ‘an artist, cultural figure and icon’, while James Antoniou of The Australian describes her as ‘an artist of the city and an artist of the people’, and ‘one of the most colourful’ of Australian artists

Mora died, aged 90. Her life was celebrated in a State Memorial, attended by over 1200 people at the Palais de Danse, a landmark for her in St.Kilda. She was the first female artist to receive a Victorian State Memorial. [Source Wikipedia]

Download Room Brochure