Mirka Mora Seaside Angel
Mirka loved St Kilda’s raffish bohemian charm and made it her home for nearly two decades. From 1965-1970, she lived with her family at the Tolarno Hotel in Fitzroy St and assisted with managing the Tolarno Bistro with Georges, her husband. It was Melbourne’s best-known French restaurant. In 1970, when Mirka and Georges separated, she moved to a shop front dwelling in Wellington St, off St Kilda Junction. After a period living in Toorak and the CBD (1975-1981), Mirka returned when she bought a Victorian cottage at 116 Barkly St where she lived until 1999.
Our Seaside Angel Project
St Kilda Historical Society has now started on stage one of the production of Seaside Angel: Mirka Mora’s St Kilda, a 30 minute documentary that focuses on the renowned artist’s St Kilda years. SKHS has been fortunate to have the blessing of William Mora, Mirka’s son and art dealer, as well as a seeding grant from CoPP. Dr Janine Burke, art historian has been appointed as heritage consultant for the project with the able assistance of student film maker at the VCA and her crew, Gilda Jones.
To date a series of interviews have been recorded with friends including Serge Thomann and Marylou Jelbart at the Tolano Restaurant in Fitzroy Street. Other people who have also taken part in round one of interviews include Kevin Wilson who assisted Mirka with the St Kilda Pier mosaic, and artist Ann Holt. William Mora also featured and will be taking us on a tour of the Tolano Hotel where he was raised. A journey into the past which we will all be able to share!
Mural in Readings which was done in the late 1980's for the then Cosmos Bookshop located in Acland Street and run by Helen and Jack Halliday. Helen and Jack are to be interviewed in-store in our second round of interviews. Mirka was a bookaholic and spent lots of time in Cosmos or subsequently, Metropolis which specialized in Art and Design Books.
The charismatic Mirka with Murrey Walker and Georges Mora. Taken in the Tolano Bistro with her mural in the background C 1966. Over the years, Mirka continued to paint murals at Tolarno and the bistro, as well as the walls in nearby corridors which are festooned with her paintings.
Another important St Kilda artwork by Mirka is the mosaic seat at the entrance to St Kilda pier. It was commissioned by CoPP and Mirka completed it in 1996.