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Studio Arts

Heide Museum of Modern Art and William Mora Galleries. 

Late in Term 1, the Year 11 and 12 Studio Arts students, Sr Shelia Flynn and myself spent time at Heide Museum viewing the Mirka Mora – PAS DE DEUX - Drawings and Dolls exhibition. Following this, we were then fortunate to enjoy the gallery space and presence of William and Anna Mora who shared their stories of Mirka. William spoke of his childhood with his vibrant mother as a prolific artist and how she 'loved to inspire people'. He spoke of Mirka cutting up bed sheets to make her textile doll works and how she disliked deciding on titles for her work, so this responsibility fell to William. He put Mirka’s subject matter into a context with explaining why she often morphed animals and humans as she saw the 'same values in animals as in humans'. Students learnt about Mirka’s experience as a child in World War 2 and how the loss of childhood shaped her studio practice and influenced the aesthetic and style that became unique to her. It was explained that 'she had survived the Holocaust but lost her childhood, so Australia represented a new beginning which translated into this incredible zest for life. She wasn't going to miss a moment.' The visit to ‘William Mora’s Galleries’ provided our students with a first-hand insight into the life of Mirka Mora as relayed by her family and the chance to know her on a more personal and intimate level that what would not be possible through simply researching on the internet. Through this excursion Mirka Mora became a ‘real person’ and a familiar figure in the eyes of the girls which can only assist in expanding their understanding of her art practices as they collate information on her as the contemporary artist studied this semester.

The PAS DE DEUX – Drawings and Dolls exhibition at Heide (which translates to ‘a dance for two people’) provided the girls with the opportunity to study the varied artforms that Mirka explored, such as drawing, painting, embroidery and soft sculpture. The extensive exhibition of 409 artworks was a stunning and overwhelming testament to her work ethic, her creativity and passion for producing art and drawing inspiration from the world around her. Kendra Morgan, one of the exhibition curators spoke of the decision making in the exhibition design, promotion and marketing considerations and the joy in gathering artworks from an artist who has enjoyed a long and successfully relationship with the gallery. 

In Studio Arts, students are to complete research on historical and contemporary artists and there is great value in seeing the artworks in gallery spaces and being able to spend time studying the imagery and considering the materials used in the construction with the work presented before their eyes. An appreciation of and exposure to wonderful art was enjoyed on that Thursday in March by students and staff alike. 



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