Pigcasso, a rescued pig in South Africa, has become an art sensation, painting pieces that sell for thousands of dollars. Pigcasso’s work has also been displayed around the world and recently on the watch faces of Swiss watchmaker Swatch.
The sow was rescued from an abattoir as a piglet and brought to an animal sanctuary in Franschhoek, in South Africa’s Western Cape region in 2016, where her new owner noticed her love of colour and paint brushes.
Founder, farm Sanctuary South Africa, Joanne Lefson said the pig basically eat or destroyed everything except the paintbrushes and she thought maybe there’s something in there, because it was really strange that she loved them so much and it just took a bit of positive reinforcement.
Well, pigs are very smart animals and so when I brought Pigcasso here to the barn, I thought how do I keep her entertained.
“Well, pigs are very smart animals and so when I brought Pigcasso here to the barn, I thought how do I keep her entertained? And so we threw in some soccer balls, rugby balls, and of course there were some paintbrushes lying around because the barn was newly built, and it was interesting,” she added.
Except for the occasional burst of creativity, Pigcasso spends most of her days eating, strolling, and sleeping.
The pig has earned the right to rest. Her paintings can sell for almost US$4,000, with the proceeds going to animal welfare.
“The fact that an animal that we see as a means to an end – a pig, bacon, sausages, all of that, has now become this phenomenon in a whole different space is really cool because that means there is an appetite for that kind of thing, there is a desire to see different things and people are taking an interest in all of this, so it’s working,” said Marketing Consultant, Sibu Mabena.
Swatch announced a collaboration with the pig last month.
Swatch executives say it’s the best-selling item in their artists’ range.
According to South African marketing consultant, Sibu Mabena, the deal was a branding coup.
“Pigcasso is definitely an abstract expressionist, you can’t exactly define what she’s painting, but I can tell you that her style slightly changes depending on her mood like any great artist. Sometimes I look at her artworks and I’ll see something that as a human I can see a dolphin shape or there’ll be a facial feature which makes it that much more interesting. But ultimately it’s definitely abstract art work and every time she paints a picture she always finishes it by dipping her nose into beetroot ink, and she takes it towards her canvas and that makes it an authentic original Pigcasso,” said Joanne Lefson .
The limited edition ‘Flying Pig by Ms. Pigcasso’ features green blue and pink brush strokes and sells for US$120.
Pigcasso’s art was taken on tour last year in the ‘Oink’ exhibition. Her pieces were shown in South Africa, the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.