Animal rescuers from the Farm Sanctuary SA just outside of Cape Town, South Africa saved a one of a kind pig from a livestock farming facility in 2016. This pig prodigy went from being led to the butcher’s block to becoming a world-class painter and activist. Her saviors appropriately name her Pigcasso.
Upon being brought back to the shelter, her caretakers wanted to make sure she’d be happy and comfortable in her new home. They presented her with some toys and objects to play with – and she immediately took a liking to a set of paintbrushes. When her rescuers noticed that, they set out some non-toxic paints and canvases to go with the brushes, just to see what would happen.
Amusingly enough, Pigcasso revealed herself to be a proficient painter. According to Joanne Lefson, her owner and the sanctuary’s founder, painting came naturally to Pigcasso. Before she was even 3 years old, Pigcasso was conquering the art world, selling paintings for thousands of dollars. Now, she even has a collaboration with watchmaker Swatch.
Lefson told CBS News:
“For some reason she took a knack to the paintbrushes and it wasn’t long before she was dancing the brush across the canvas and selling artworks all over the world.”
Pigcasso signs the corner of each of her abstract expressionist masterpieces with the tip of her snout. She uses a mixture of beetroot and acrylic ink to do so.
The sanctuary sells Pigcasso’s artwork on the internet and through a gallery at the sanctuary. Her masterpieces typically sell between $500 to $4,000. She has sold a lot of them too because, so far, her artwork has brought in close to $145,000 for the sanctuary. All of the proceeds generated go towards supporting the sanctuary and raising awareness for animal rights.
Farm Sanctuary SA’s mission is to inspire compassion for farm animals. The money they get from the sale of Pigcasso’s art is to rescue more farm animals and “educate the general public on the atrocities of today’s factory farming practices that don’t just harm animals but also ones health and environment,” says Lefson.
In 2018, Pigcasso became the first animal to ever have her own art exhibition. Her “OINK” exhibition ended up catching the attention of Swiss watchmaker Swatch. That is how she began her collaboration with the company. Their project together involved creating a series of colorful watches celebrating the Chinese Year of the Pig. Lefson said, “They gave guidelines on the colors and general style, Pigcasso did the rest!” The sanctuary will receive all proceeds from the sale of the limited edition watches.
Lefson enthusiastically told CBS News:
“I am so proud of Pigcasso. From pork chop to global Swatch designer, it’s just another reason to see pigs as the smart creative divas that they are — and to eat less bacon and to go shopping instead!”