In partnership with Tauranga City Council, this exhibition celebrates local artist, Mr G (Graham Hoete) who is recognised internationally for his highly rendered large-scale, spray-painted portraits. Mr G’s exhibition explores the theme of haukāinga (home), including his family connection to Matakana and Motiti Islands. While he could live anywhere in the world, Mr G resides in Papamoa. His deep affection for his whanau and whenua has him rooted to Tauranga Moana; the perfect place and theme for his first solo exhibition, with the key themes of whakapapa and hononga.
One of the special elements expressing hononga - which means union, connection, relationship or bond - and whakapapa, is the inclusion of the actual corrugated iron shed where Hoete’s grandfather used to work, which still stands on their homestead land at Matakana Island. As a dedication to his grandparents, he painted their portraits directly onto it, emphasizing their bond, strengthening a connection to them, their home and land. Linking to the central theme of the exhibition, it was important for him to return to the island to deconstruct the painted shed wall and reassemble it in the gallery space, bringing an authentic piece of Matakana into the gallery. The essential intimacy and connection brought together with Graham’s parents in this space connects and unifies the whanau.
Over the past year, Mr G has also been learning the art of whakairo (Māori carving) from master carver Todd Couper. Mr G will feature this new skill throughout the exhibition, along with his more traditional photorealist ‘G’ series portraits, with art-directed video content and a surprise piece that will be unveiled at the exhibition opening. In learning whakairo, Hoete has been able to adapt his painting with the knowledge of carving techniques to render simulations that might otherwise be near impossible to carve at such large scale. For the first time, he will be creating simulated whakairo, working on a scale that if actually carved might take decades to produce, including a life-size replica of his marae. The simulated photo-realist style might recall Goldie or Lindauer, but Hoete has reclaimed these art historical precedents with street art and contemporary references to define his own unique language of painting, brought to fruition in his major tribute to ‘Home.’
Keep up-to-date on Mr G’s progress as he creates work for the exhibition by following him on Facebook and register for the Tauranga Art Gallery’s fortnightly newsletter for updates throughout the year.
Phone +64 (0) 7 578 7933
Cnr Wharf & Willow Streets, Downtown Tauranga, 3110
Box 13255 Tauranga, 3141, New Zealand
Open Daily 10.00am - 4.30pm
Entry: NZ Residents by Donation. Children (12 years & under) Free. International Visitors $7.