Local and internationally recognised artist Graham Hoete's first solo exhibition will take place in Tauranga in November.

The exhibition, announced as part of Tauranga Art Gallery's 2019 Programme Premiere this evening, will run from November 9, 2019 to early 2020.

Mr G's mural on the Mauao Water tank. Photo / File
Mr G's mural on the Mauao Water tank. Photo / File

Hoete, or "Mr G", is best known for his large-scale, spray-painted portraits in unexpected urban and rural settings, including the 8m-high Prince portrait in Minnesota and the locally celebrated "Kaitiakitanga" mural on Mauao's water tank.

Hoete's international profile has seen him accept commissions across the globe, from Oklahoma City to Sydney but his deep affection for his whānau and whenua now draws him back to the place he calls home – Tauranga Moana.

Mr G's mural tribute to Prince in his hometown of Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Mr G's mural tribute to Prince in his hometown of Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Hoete says a solo exhibition in Tauranga, where he will explore the theme of his haukāinga (home) including his unique relationship and connection to Matakana and Motiti islands through his parents, has been on his mind for some time.

"It's been in my heart for a while. I've done a lot of commercial, community and charitable work but by having a solo exhibition, I can share what's dear to my heart, celebrate my roots and what better place to do it than here in Tauranga Moana."

The exhibition, named Home, will take Hoete about 10 months to complete and will include a portrait of his grandparents spray-painted on to a shed at Matakana Island, which will be carefully deconstructed and reinstalled in the gallery.

 Mr G, Graham Hoete. Photo / File
Mr G, Graham Hoete. Photo / File

"For the first time, I'm also going to be presenting what I call my G-series portraits – spray-painted portraits, custom shaped with carved references to that person's whakapapa in the frames.

"I want these portraits to set a new benchmark in the Māori portrait world, a new kind of style and aesthetic, with deep authentic connection."

Over the past year, Hoete has also been learning the art of whakairo (Māori carving) from master carver Todd Couper. Hoete will use this technique throughout the exhibition, as well as feature a special piece reserved for the gallery's vault.

Tauranga City councillor Leanne Brown is delighted that Tauranga will host Hoete's inaugural solo exhibition.

"Home is a perfect opportunity for Tauranga to celebrate and support Mr G's uniquely Tauranga voice. His whanaungatanga to our coastal city makes him perfectly positioned to promote Tauranga and tāngata whenua stories to the rest of Aotearoa and the world.

Home, a follow-up to the hugely successful 2017 Paradox Tauranga Street Art Festival, is a collaboration between Tauranga City Council and Tauranga Art Gallery.

"It is great to be working closely with our colleagues at Tauranga Art Gallery to present Mr G's most ambitious project to date. Our partnership will allow both organisations to share resources to ensure the exhibition achieves positive social and economic benefits for the city."

Audiences can see Mr G's progress, as he creates each piece for Home, by following him on Facebook and Instagram.