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Mirka Mora

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Mirka Mora
Audio: 2 minutes

I must be one of the very lucky painters, because as soon as I have anything in my hand, a pen or charcoal or anything which will leave a mark, I can straight away run fast on the paper, and little people will come out, serpents, animals, everything will intermingle. Actually my drawings are like living dreams. Sometimes they appear very incoherent but I know that all this incoherence, if I search in it the truth is there. Each drawing has a very strong meaning. It as if my unconscious – or subconscious – would want to become conscious. Each drawing is a riddle which I have to decipher, and this is why I can never, I will never stop drawing because the answers of the riddles always come, sooner or later.

When I was expecting my third child I was drawing my little people all the time. Sometimes I’d draw little animals too, but they have human legs or they have human arms. This goes back far away in the history of art, of course, I’m aware of that, but it’s a truth and it travels all through time and it comes and visits some artists from time to time. Must be that little beast we’ve got inside us, that’s what it is. Anyhow, when I was expecting my third child, all my little drawings had four toes, and everybody used to say, ‘Why do you do four toes? You know a foot has five toes’, and I said, ‘Well, my people have four toes, you know, I can’t help it, my hand does it. I’m not thinking about it. It just has to have four toes because when I feel the foot it just comes out with four toes’. And when my baby came out, he was born, it had one foot with four toes.

So you can see what faith I have in my work. The truth is inside you always and you have to find it.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Mirka Mora is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

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Mirka Mora

Related information

Mirka Mora
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It's a Mora!

Magazine article by Tedi Bills, 2016

Select extracts from Mirka Mora's autobiography, Wicked but Virtuous, provide rich accompaniment to recent Gallery acquisitions.  

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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