Last week I wrote about sending out a tweet on twitter asking if anyone had a connection to Mirka Mora, as my daughter and her friends were doing a project about her and would love to get the opportunity to interview her. After some help from Lauren O’Grady, Gina Milicia very kindly responded and set the wheels in motion. Mirka was happy to be interviewed, and my daughter and her friends conducted a phone interview that was recorded and posted to YouTube and on the wikispace they had created for the project. At the end of the interview Mirka remarked to me that she was impressed with their astute questions and would like to invite them to afternoon tea.
Well, that very kind invitation was taken up this afternoon. My daughter and her friends, and a colleague and I, spent a very pleasant hour and a half visiting Mirka’s home sharing cheesecake and lemon tea.
Mirka welcomed us with a loud chorus of classical music and a warm smile. She is such a generous soul, full of wisdom that she imparted to us over the course of our visit. One of the first things she said was that we should always praise ourselves; in other words, exhibit self belief. The stories she shared demonstrated her ability to take risks and do things that she was not always confident about. This self belief led to great success and opportunities for Mirka. She was friendly with some of the great Australian painters and recounted stories about her great friend Marcel Marceau.
Mirka’s home is full of memorabilia and artwork. In her studio she had three art works on the go and she said this is how she paints. She likes to move to where she feels best able to extend her creativity. It was such a privilege for all of us to be invited to her private space and be able to see what Mirka is all about. And what is she about? Life, and living it to the full, pure and simple.
Mirka and her pet snail! Her beloved cat died two years ago.
Mirka shared a story that epitomised what she is about. Her doctor told her a few years ago that she should have a walking frame when out and about. Mirka would have none of that. Instead, she invested in prams and now has 16 or so that she uses when out shopping. One day she was out and saw a woman with four children, one of whom was very young and struggling to keep up. The mother looked harried. Mirka approached her and gave her the pram she was using. She told us how they shared a moment together; they were united in the shared experience of motherhood. When telling us this Mirka’s eyes were teary and I have to admit, mine were too.
This has been a wonderful learning experience for our students (and my daughter!) I think it safe to say that Mirka found it equally powerful. I think she was genuinely impressed with the students’ questions and with the fact that she is having an impact on our younger generation. It’s an example of Network Literacy; teachers using social media tools to connect our students to the subject of their research. I know that these students will never forget Mirka Mora and they know what led us to her. As we walked away today from from Mirka’s home one of them said, “That’s it. I’m never dissing Twitter again.”
A great experience for all. Thank you so much Mirka for your graciousness in allowing us into your home and for sharing your life with us. We are all the richer for it.