Australia

Much-loved artist Mirka Mora dies aged 90

Artist Mirka Mora has died aged 90. Source: visual.artshub.com.au

Prolific and much-loved Melbourne artist Mirka Mora has died aged 90, prompting an outpouring of tributes.

Much-loved Melbourne artist Mirka Mora, who helped transform the city's cultural identity, has died at the age of 90.

Her son, art dealer William Mora, confirmed her death in a statement on Monday night.

"An artist and mentor who touched the lives of thousands, she has had an indelible effect on Australia's cultural life," he told Fairfax Media.

"At 90, she fought Alzheimer's and age-related illness to the end. The joie de vivre she has shared with so many will continue in her immense legacy of art and her spirit of generosity."

Ms Mora was born in France in 1928 and escaped being sent to Auschwitz during the Nazi occupation.

She married French resistance fighter Georges in 1947 and the couple then came to Australia with their son Philippe in 1951.

The family brought European-style dining to Melbourne in the 1950s, including Mirka Cafe on Exhibition Street and Balzac in East Melbourne, which was the first restaurant in the city to get a 10pm liquor licence.

Premier Daniel Andrews described Ms Mora as "brave, funny, irreverent" and "an icon of our city and state."

"Known for her bold and bright work, Mirka Mora drenched our city and our state with colour," Mr Andrews said in a statement.

"As one of our nation's most loved artists, Mirka was a driving force in Victoria's artistic scene and instrumental in the reformation of the Contemporary Art Society."

Ms Mora first trained in mime and drama under legendary artist Marcel Marceau before her focus shifted to painting with a prolific output to her name.

"Her colourful, sensuous iconography has emerged from the 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," her biography on son William's gallery website reads.

In 2003 Mr Marceau presented Ms Mora with the Officier des Arts et des Lettres at a presentation in front of her family and friends.

The award is presented by the French government to people who have made a significant contribution to art and culture. Previous recipients include Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and Elton John.

Ms Mora is survived by her sons Philippe, William and actor Tiriel, and their children.

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