The graduates at Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art were shocked to discover their pieces had disappeared from last week’s public exhibition.
Ane Smith spent six months putting together a hand-bound, Japanese-inspired book for her final degree show at the highly regarded art school.
She had faith the art-loving public would appreciate her work freely and responsibly, and placed it on a plinth for anyone to flick through and enjoy.
But, by 5.30pm on Friday, June 24, the student’s work was gone.
The materials alone for the work cost the young artist £300 and she added the sentimental value of her project was priceless.
She said: “I’m not really holding out any hope of seeing it again, but it would be great if someone does give it back.
“The theft isn’t going to have an impact on my work or grades, but now I can’t take it to display at other galleries, which is really disappointing.
“I honestly don’t know what people could do with it, because, although there is £300 worth of materials involved, it’s not as if you could strip it down and sell it on.”
Every year, the Gray’s degree show allows graduating artists from the institution to display their hard work, make a name for themselves and even sell their projects to help fund their careers.
Chloe Wilson, another Gray’s student, also had her final hand-bound dissertation and a mini book stolen and was left wondering about the senseless nature of the theft.
She said: “It was upsetting that people would think to take something that other people have spent a lot of time on.
“It was not worth a huge amount of money, but quite a lot of other things have been going missing during the degree show.
“I know that some things from fashion and communication design have also gone.”
The head of the art school Professor Chris O’Neil appealed for a return of the work as soon as possible.
He said: “We are incredibly saddened somebody feels it’s appropriate to steal from our students in this manner.
“We would appeal to the better judgement of the people involved to return the work as a matter of urgency.”
Police are also investigating the thefts.
Anyone with information is urged to phone 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they wish to remain anonymous.