Artwork Name: Merata Mita
Artist Name: Mr G
Location: 1218 Eruera Street
Medium: Painted mural
Internationally renowned street artist Mr G was the entrusted by ARONUI to create a portrait of widely respected Māori filmmaker, Merata Mita (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāi Te Rangi).
A passionate advocate for Māori creative control, Merata Mita was famous for chronicling landmark moments of protest and division in Aotearoa in her films.
At four storeys high, the mural is Mr G’s largest work to date, with one of her eyes alone over two metres wide.
Mr G was honoured to be asked by ARONUI Indigenous Arts Festival to create the huge mural in 2021. The Te Toki o Te Arawa are a series of murals paying tribute to Te Arawa heros who have made significant contributions to the arts.
“Portraiture isn’t just about painting a face, it’s about representing a person and all they are connected to.” – Mr G
Patu! Is one of Merata Mita’s well-known films, a documentary about the 1981 Springbok tour. Mita was also the first woman in New Zealand to solely write and direct a dramatic feature film.
Underneath the portrait is a quote by Mita, which is also on her headstone: “Swimming against the tide makes you stronger. I am without fear now”.
Credit: Mr G, Merata Mita, 2021. Commissioned by the ARONUI Indigenous Arts Festival.
About the artist: Graeme Hoete (Ngāi te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Awa), also known as Mr G, is a street artist specialising in spray painted, large-scale, photo-realistic murals.
Mr G champions Māoritanga and often depicts his whānau and tīpuna in his works. One of his main aims is to educate and restore the integrity of Indigenous stories being told by Indigenous artists. His work can be seen throughout Aotearoa, the USA and the UK.