Jesus Christians.com

Preferred Language:  English | Espanol | Deutsch | Francois | Po Polsku | Easy English

Graffitists Come To Town To Break The Sounds Of Silence


"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls." Simon and Garfunkel, The Sounds of Silence.

Fifteen followers of The Prophet came to Sydney on Friday, September 21, determined to spread His word in similar fashion.

Sleeping in their cars by day and painting at night, it took the gorup 72 hours and more than $1,000 worth of paint to plaster about 50 proverbs, cliches and personal thoughts in huge letters over walls and bridges.

Scattered mainly along the western and south-western railway lines were messages like: You are guilty of all the good you didn't do; Love your enemies, nothing annoys them more; All that's necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing; So much to do so little time; Love's not a feeling, it's an act of the will; There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

In the process, five of them were arrested.

Tony Berry, 30, Rod Kepler, 37, and Boyd Ellery, 31, were arrested at Granville Station on the Friday night and charged with marking a wall with paint.

On Sunday night at Villawood station, police arrested and charged Ross Parry, 30, and Jessica Danko, 20, with malicious damage, which carries a maximum penalty of five years' in jail.

As their ages suggest, the arrested people aren't run-of-the-mill grafftists.

They all live in a house outside the small town of Medowie (population 4,000), just north of Newcastle, and are known locally as the Medowie Christian Volunteers.

Among the group's 30 or so members are its leader, American-born David McKay, several women from India, a former drug addict and several others.

They range in age from five months to 46 years, and have been based at Medowie for three years and are all unemployed.

It was at one of their regular prayer meetings that talk about the effectiveness of railway graffiti mingled with reminiscences about proverbs and phrases that had changed their lives.

The decision to do the graffiti, Mr McKay said, was "spontaneous, but the reasons why we did it had been building up for a long time".

The most prominent painting in the group's Medowie home features teh message "Greed breeds mean deeds", which explains much of their graffiti.

A sign at Burwood station says: "Sometimes silence is not golden... just yellow.  Speak up!"

Mr McKay said the group painted only over areas which already had graffiti, much of which was "very obscene".

Despite the arrests, they say they have no remorse about their acts.

Their only regret is having taken the unusual step of leaving their phone number and postal address with each message.

"We've had a lot of positive feedback, but most of the abusive calls came from people whose graffiti we painted over," Mr McKay said.

An SRA spokesman estimated the cost of removing the graffiti would be more than $100,000.

He said the nature of the graffiti had enraged other graffitists who had already painted over most of the messages.

Mail us at:   fold@idl.net.au,    OR write to:    Godstuff Comix,  P.O.Box A678, Sydney South, Australia 1235