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Pigcasso: The Painting Pig

A 300-kilogram-plus painting pig is helping raise funds for an animal rescue centre in Cape Town.

Pigcasso, the painting pig
Lefson and Pigcasso in the studio | Credit: Farm Sanctuary SA | Caters News Agency

Joanne Lefson, who describes herself as the “personal assistant, creativity mentor and curator”, uses the brush strokes produced by her porker to raise funds for her rescue centre, the staff wages, educational materials and general operations. And it seems to be working.

Apparently, and rather remarkably, one of the colourful artworks by 'pigcasso' resembled Prince Harry. “It sold instantly to a Spanish collector for $3,000,” says Lefson.

Why would anyone sane contemplate buying a painting by a pig? Evidently there was novelty value - and if the global art market is worth $67.6 billion a year, it’s because the relationship between prices and perceived (subjective) quality is complex and defies logic. Does it matter who or what paints it? If you like the piece, why not buy it? Especially if it's for a good cause.

Pig gripping a paint brush in its teeth
Credit: Farm Sanctuary SA

Of course, pigcasso needs a little help. After all, the porky fellow only has his mouth to grip the paintbrush, so Lefson has to dunk the brush in paint and move the canvas around a bit to enhance the pig's creativity.

If the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Committee remain unimpressed, in 2018 the pig had a sell-out show in Cape Town, with another last year in Amsterdam. It's all a fun circus. And most definitely a brilliant trick for raising awareness of the Farm Sanctuary and generating much needed cash by selling the pig's artwork.


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