Burning ambitions

June 22, 2001

Art student Marion Downes was devastated when her sister's Ford Fiesta containing a whole year's work was stolen as she prepared for her degree show. Any hope of retrieving the 2,000 photographs and their negatives was abandoned when the police found the burnt-out car with only charred fragments of her pictures inside.

"I couldn't believe it. I went into shock," said Ms Downes, a student at Sunderland University. She lost her sketchbooks, a cinefilm and various sculptural pieces on the theme of night-time. Ms Downes, an insomniac, had painstakingly recorded street scenes after dark.

Ms Downes salvaged her final-year exhibition by displaying the car. "It seems a bit bizarre, but in a way I think the thieves did me a favour," she said.

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