Healing post-flood project

TEAMWORK: Mr G and his wife Melissa, ‘she does the admin… and cleans up the mess’. Photo Louis Klaassen D6694-08

ARTIST Graeme Hoete, known as Mr G, and his wife Melissa were hard at work yesterday finishing their mural on the Coffee Shop wall for Te Toi O Patutatahi – The Art of Edgecumbe project.

The mural is the second of four artworks that make up the healing post-flood community project.

The mural depicts 16-year-old Edgecumbe teenager Nethia Richards gazing upwards on a yellow sky background. Mr G said it was important to him that they used a local as the model as she had been there to “walk through the journey of Edgecumbe”.

Nethia’s upward gaze signifies “a hopeful message for young people to keep their heads up and dream … to contemplate the possibilities and to lift their eyes”, said Mr G. The yellow sky background simply signifies hope.

While the mural isn’t directly related to the Edgecumbe flooding, Mr G said it could be interpreted that way,

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“You could look at it like, lift your eyes, don’t be down and depressed, don’t stay there,”
While the Beacon was speaking to Mr G, the children of room 10 from Edgecumbe Primary School arrived to have a look at the mural and to ask questions.

Whaia Jo Walker said coming to the mural was an “unplanned, seize-the-moment teaching opportunity led by the children”.

The year 7 and 8 children were “keen to find out what it meant and were happy to see support coming into the town … we also have some budding artists and they were excited to ask questions about his career”.

While this is Mr G’s first mural in Edgecumbe he has previously created some in Whakatane and Kawerau, including the mural on the side of the old supermarket building in Kopeopeo.

“I like working in true Kiwi locations,” said Mr G. “I like it in rural areas, not big cities… it’s good to be back with the kaumatua doing tea.”

Mr G expected to complete the mural yesterday in time for a blessing this evening.

Charlotte Jones