Though pigs may never fly, a two-year-old hog in Franschhoek, South Africa is proving they sure can paint! Meet Pigcasso, the world’s first known pig artist whose masterpieces are selling for thousands of dollars to benefit Farm Sanctuary S.A., Africa’s only registered shelter for rescued farm animals.
Joanne Lefson, who saved Pigcasso from a slaughterhouse two years ago, discovered the animal’s artistic talent accidentally. The South African activist says of the numerous toys presented to keep the then four-week-old piglet entertained, it was the paintbrushes that seemed to attract her the most. They "were the only thing she didn't eat," Lefson quips.
The rescuer decided to present the pig with canvas and paint and see what happened. To her delight, the aptly named Pigcasso began creating works of art that can best be described as “abstract expressionism.” Now weighing a hefty 450 pounds, the celebrated pig, who loves to paint the area’s scenic landscapes, has a dedicated “studio” at Farm Sanctuary S.A. where she resides. Though Pigcasso does get to snack from an “overloaded picnic basket” containing her favorite foods — like caramel popcorn and syrup peaches — when working, Lefson says, “I do not force her to paint. She paints when she wants to.”
Pigcasso’s artwork, which has thus far been sold online, is currently on display at Cape Town’s picturesque Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Dubbed “Oink,” the pop-up exhibition will run through March 5 before heading to London‚ Paris‚ Berlin, and Amsterdam. Lefson says its main aim is to highlight the effect of animal agriculture on the planet and inspire change.
While Pigcasso is the first pig and first nonhuman to headline an exhibition, she is not the first animal to create masterpieces. Elephants, sea lions, and even penguins have shown similar artistic prowess – in exchange for some treats, of course!
Resources: odditycentral.com,mirror.co.uk, pigcasso.org