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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Artful student's car exhibit
Marian Downes
Marian Downes shows the art of the burned out wreck
An art student has used a car that was burned out after it was stolen to complete her final year exhibition.

The brainwave came after the Ford Fiesta, containing all Marian Downes's previous project work, was taken from outside her house.

Marian feared she may have to drop out of her BA honours course at Sunderland University, when her work went up in smoke with the car.


When it was found down at the docks burnt out I couldn't believe it, it didn't seem real

Marian Downes

However, after the burned out shell of the 11-year-old white vehicle was found at the docks in Sunderland, Marian decided to cut the remains up and put it on show to the public.

Marian, 22, who lives in the Hendon area of the city, said she was devastated when she discovered car, owned by her sister Amy, had been taken.

"I had packed the car with my project work the day before, ready to go to college, but the next day I came out and the car had gone," she said.

Forensics theme

"And when it was found down at the docks burnt out I couldn't believe, it didn't seem real - I really thought I was going to have to drop out of my course."

For Marian, becoming a victim of crime was made more significant, as her original work had a forensics-style theme.

Marian Downes
All smiles now for Marian

She said: "Although I was taking photographs late at night in Sunderland to explore insomnia, the way I had catalogued it was in a very clinical way, as forensic evidence is put together."

On advice from her tutors, Marian used the idea with the car - and had just two weeks to turn it in to the exhibit for the project.

Marian added: "There was no paintwork left on the car, and it was basically a shell, so l cut it into sections and put it together as the centrepiece of the exhibition."

Marian's work goes on show to the public on Saturday at Ashburne House at Sunderland University.

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18 Apr 01 | Arts
Throw-away items become art
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