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Late Scottish artist's powerful sketches of homeless people discovered in attic after 30 years

Robert McKee's drawings of people homeless in Dundee in the early 90s have been unearthed and now they're on show on the city's streets

Robert McKee homelessness art in Dundee

Robert McKee's art is now back on the streets near Dundee's famous V&A museum after 30 years in his parents' attic. Image: Supplied

Robert McKee’s sketches of homeless men and women he got to know in Dundee in the early 90s have seen the light of day for the first time in 30 years.

McKee, who died in a diving accident at the age of 26 in 1994, spent time on the streets of the Scottish city capturing the people he met on canvas.

The McKee family unearthed the art and put it on show in November with more than 150 family and friends attending the exhibition at John Knox Church in his hometown of Stewarton, in Ayrshire.

Art by Robert McKee. Image: Supplied
Robert McKee homelessness art in Dundee
Art by Robert McKee. Image: Supplied

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Now, the work is on show in poster boards as part of the Nomas Project near to the V&A in Dundee until February – McKee learned his craft at Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

The art pieces have proven just as relevant 30 years on and raised £3,420 each for two charities close to McKee’s heart: homeless people charity Shelter and McMillan Cancer Support.

Robert McKee homelessness art in Dundee
Art by Robert McKee. Image: Supplied
Robert McKee homelessness art in Dundee
Art by Robert McKee. Image: Supplied

McKee’s friend Karen Cooper told the Big Issue: “Robert was very passionate about social justice issues and people who are homeless was obviously the real face of that.

“It was actually in his mum and dad’s attic. It was the classic, they put it away in his big portfolio and nobody had looked at it or 30 years. He was a really big character. He was a musician, a writer and an artist and a good looking guy too. He had a big group of friends who have grieved for him for 30 years. So the friends got together and said we’ve really got to do something about his work.”

Robert McKee
Robert McKee. Image: Supplied
Robert McKee homelessness art in Dundee
Robert McKee’s work went on show in his hometown of Stewarton in Ayrshire and was the first time some of his family had laid eyes on the art pieces. Image: Supplied

Bringing the artwork back into the light has offered a legacy to McKee after his life was cruelly cut short – but the process has also been an emotional one, according to Cooper.

Cooper added: “His brother and sister hadn’t seen all his work. It had very much been put away as a painful memory and stuck up in a box. So it was quite emotional for them to look through it for the first time.”

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