Meet Pigcasso, The World's First Pig Artist

By on

CCSS Word Search
Pigcasso at work (Photo Credit:

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.

Pigcasso’s abstract art (Photo Credit

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.

Pigcasso at work (Photo Credit:

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!


Generate citations in MLA, APA & Chicago formats for this article.

VocabularyPlay Game

abstract expressionismaccidentallyaptlybenefitdedicatedentertainedheftyhighlighthoginspiremasterpiecespicturesqueprowessquipsregisteredscenicslaughterhouse

Reading Comprehension (9 questions)

  1. What has Pigcasso proven?
  2. Who benefits from the proceeds of Pigcasso’s paintings?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Do you think Pigcasso’s paintings are fetching high prices because...


Vocabulary in Context

“Now weighing a hefty 450 pounds, the celebrated pig, who loves to paint the area’s scenic landscapes, has a dedicated “studio” at Farm...

  • yaboyskinnypete
    yaboyskinnypeteSunday, January 20, 2019 at 7:30 am
    dude, I have whole mythology on pigs so this is great
    • Little TSaturday, January 19, 2019 at 5:45 am
      Go pigs
      • clairebear24
        clairebear24Friday, January 18, 2019 at 11:29 am
        WOW that is AMAZING! Those painting are actually better than mine!! 😂😂😢 This truely extraordinary!
        • chloeyFriday, January 18, 2019 at 11:22 am
          • sg123
            sg123Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 7:48 pm
            the pig's paintings are actually a masterpiece!
            • sg123
              sg123Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 7:47 pm
              so cool!
              • RelchyMaiThursday, January 17, 2019 at 6:07 am
                Pigs, paintings and famous artist. What a relation.
                • cupcakefairy
                  cupcakefairyFriday, December 21, 2018 at 9:04 pm
                  Oh, wow! I saw elephants paint in an exhibit , but pigs! Wowww. And humans think they’re not capable of thinking!
                  • turtlelover801
                    turtlelover801Monday, December 17, 2018 at 8:44 pm
                    This is really cool.
                    • TrinketSunday, December 16, 2018 at 8:23 pm
                      When I saw this I was totally captured by it. This pig is a modern day "pig like" Rembrandt. I wish my guinea pig was able to do this! Lol

                      Our Apps and Plugins