Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 12:27 UK

Maggots attempt abstract artwork

Dr Matthew Cobb (Pic: MEN Syndication)
Dr Matthew Cobb said the maggots made amazing patterns

Hundreds of maggots have been rescued from their fate as fishing bait and used to paint images by experts at the University of Manchester.

The blowfly larvae created abstract works of art for a festival about insects on London's South Bank.

Children taking part in university workshops daubed the creatures with paint and let them loose on canvas.

A spokesman from the university said he wanted children to see that maggots were cute and not scary.

Modern versions of Jackson Pollock's famous "action paintings" were created by the maggots, according to Dr Matthew Cobb, from the university.

Dr Cobb, who bought the unlikely artists from a fishing tackle shop, said: "We wanted to show children and grown-ups that maggots are cute and not scary and that they can make amazing patterns.

Maggot painting (Pic: MEN Syndication)
The paint covered maggots following coloured lights to create the work

"We just put the maggots in non-toxic paint, and they did the rest, leaving wriggling trails behind that look like Jackson Pollock's work."

More than 120 children took part in maggot painting workshops during the festival, called Pestival, last week, he said.

They used torches to produce different colours of light which the maggots followed around the paper.

The tiny artists were rinsed off and released unharmed into a compost heap after their moment of fame.

The American artist Jackson Pollock was a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, and pioneered the technique of pouring and dripping paint on to canvas.

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