TRANSFORMERS - they're the robots in disguise battling to save the world in an epic struggle between good and evil. But this particular machine comes in peace.

The ginormous sculpture weighing over 1000kg by artist Hetain Patel will be making its way to Southampton for the launch of a new gallery.

A 1988 Ford Fiesta painstakingly converted by hand, the artwork will be one of the centrepieces of a

'sampler' programme to celebrate the opening of the John Hansard city centre site.

Conceived partly as a way for Hetain to spend time with his dad - who made hearses and limousines for the funeral trade - the piece took nearly four months to make and meant Hetain had to learn how to weld.

But it is also a homage to personal freedom and working class culture, as well as the popular 1980s toy and the multimillion pound global film franchise.

Now the artist, who was born in the UK to immigrant Indian parents, says he's "excited" to bring Fiesta Transformer to the city.

He said: "The 1988 Ford Fiesta was my first car my parents ever bought me when I passed my driving test at 17. It was a little beat up up and not very reliable but it was my first real feel of freedom – the power to decide where to go, as long as I could get together some petrol money. The car was also for a long time one of the symbols of working class Britain, which reflects my family heritage in a lot of ways.

"I made the sculpture with my dad over a period of three or four months. I was really keen to spend time with him in his world, learning from him. So our building process felt a bit like my taking an apprenticeship in cutting and welding metal and learning about cars. It was definitely a bonding experience."

But besides learning skills passed down the generations there's a reason it's not depicted in a fighting stance.

He said: "The final sculpture is in a squatting posture that comes up a lot in my work. It is a posture commonly adopted by the lower classes in India, and one that is still built into some of my family members’ bodies despite them having lived in the UK now for many years. So Fiesta Transformer represents some elements of working class India and working class Britain.

"Manufactured in England, this car stands as a symbol of working class Britain, a native body, albeit here a car body.

"The work is also about transformation, working your way out of something, but peacefully through hard work. It is purposefully not a battle robot!"

Hetain is also known for his film, performance and photography work. In one project he uses his grandmother's house in Bolton, Lancashire as the backdrop for film featuring a 'home-made' Spiderman. 'The Jump' and 'Don't Look At The Finger' will also be shown as part of the JHG Sampler Studio 144 opening week.

Fiesta Transformer will be at Studio 144 John Hansard Gallery in Guildhall Square from February 16-23.