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Christian Artists Rule and Draw, Ok


Kevin McKay invited police from the NSW Graffiti Task Force to the recent opening of his art exhibition in Woollahra, but they didn't attend.

Previously, however, they have been more than interested in "artists" from Mr McKay's home, in Medowie, north of Newcastle.

On two lighting visits to Sydney last year, members of a Christian commune based in Medowie and headed by Kevin's father, David, splashed religious graffiti across the city.

In September, 15 of them used more than $1,000 worth of paint to daub proverbs and cliches in huge letters on walls and bridges along suburban railway lines.

The messages included: "You are guilty of all the good you didn't do"; "Love your enemies, nothing annoys them more"; "Love is not a feeling, it's an act of the will".

Five of the group were arrested, charged and convicted.

Then, in October, they attacked the wall at Bondi Beach and left more than 400 metres of messages which started at the southern end with "Life is too short to waste on things that do not bring happiness, make others happy and you will be happy too".

Mr McKay was in the United States at the time, but the graffiti work of his friends has inspired two of the paintings on display at teh Naive Galleries.

It is the 25-year-old artist's second exhibition.

Gallery owner Ms Etienne Naughton says the works are "modern primitive" and describes Mr McKay as a "political folk artist".

The painting Out of Time is from the first graffiti raid.

It features one of his friends being arrested by a burly policeman after painting "So much to do, so little..." on a wall.

"And that's how it happened," Mr McKay said.  "He was just about to paint the word 'time' when it ran out."

The second painting, A Place in the Sun, is copied from a photograph that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald featuring the Bondi graffiti in the brackground and 17-year-old sunbather Rahlee Carrol in the foreground.

Asked what she thought of the graffiti at the time, Ms Carrol said: "Heaps of people will read it because it is there, then think about it.  So it might serve some meagningful purpose.  But I think it looks stupid and ugly."

Mr McKay tried to invite Ms Carrol to the opening as well, but couldn't find her.

Of his invitation to the police, he said: "After they sat watching our house for so many days and then searching it from top to bottom looking for evidence, I wrote them a bit of a cheeky letter saying that they'd been working so heard, they deserved a night out."

There was no reply.

The police are no doubt still upset about the estimated $100,000 bill quoted to clean up the group's painting efforts.

But the police may now rest easy.

"I think we'll keep quiet for a while now," Mr McKay said of any future graffiti exploits.
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