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Deadly Nightshade


Collection: Gray's School of Art Collection; Gray's School of Art Sculpture Collection
Object Type: Sculpture
Artist/Maker: Owen, Mandy
Date: 2004
Media/Materials: cigarettes on board
Dimensions: overall: 55.5 cm x 65 cm
Awards: RGU Sculpture Purchase Award

Artist's statement:
"The majority of my work is about nature and its positive and relaxing impact on humanity. I had created a collage of human lungs made from leaves - I liked the idea of using the leaves as they are like the lungs of plants. About this time I was also struggling to stop smoking. I kept stopping and starting. I kept thinking about the number of cigarettes I had smoked and the residue they may have left in my lungs. I started to make other collages of lungs using tobacco products and this led me to make a sculpture of the lungs made from cigarette filters - used and unused. This piece was named 'Deadly Nightshade' as the tobacco plant comes from the nightshade family of plants. The artwork was almost a kind of therapy for me to make, as it was really revolting collecting all the used cigarettes and handling them. I was determined to stop smoking myself, as my mother had emphysema, which was probably caused by her being a smoker for a number of decades. 'Deadly Nightshade' can look quite attractive from a distance and I have even heard people describe it as angel wings. It is not until you take a closer look that you realise it is made with cigarette filters and it smells bad. I like how it can look attractive yet also be repulsive - I feel it mirrors the struggle you have when you are a smoker trying to quit."
Object Number: ABDRG10139