Swine Art: Pigcasso the Pig Paints for Animal Rights

Now, that's some pig.
By: Aly Semigran

On May 13, 2016, a month-old-pig was saved from what would have been certain death at a slaughterhouse in South Africa. Now, almost a year later, that very same pig is a world-renowned artist whose work sells for thousands of dollars. 

That’s the incredible journey of Pigcasso, who was rescued by Farm Sanctuary South Africa and its founder and owner Joanne Lefson. 

While living on the farm, Lefson discovered that Pigcasso had a passion for art when she chose paint brushes to play with.

“She was fascinated and it was the only thing she didn’t try to eat!” Lefson says. “It was a case of nurturing that potential ‘hidden’ talent in a positive manner, and the rest is history.” 

That talent has made Pigcasso a favorite not only on the farm, but of art buyers worldwide. Her work—the proceeds of which go directly to Farm Sanctuary—has wowed fans. “It looks like works you’d expect to see in a top gallery,” Lefson says. 

Admirers can see and purchase Pigcasso’s work at the Oink gallery on the farm as well as “give her a belly rub, a kiss and a good squeeze” when they visit, Lefson adds. 

By meeting Pigcasso and seeing her astonishing work, the hope is that people not only change their minds about what art can be, but about how they think of pigs and the harsh treatments they endure in the world. 

“Pigs raised for production live in condition that consumers would find appalling and, yet, because these industrialized facilities are so well hidden from public view, no one knows what goes on inside,” Lefson says. “Pigs today never see the sun or have basic necessities. They live in crammed, overcrowded filthy cement enclosures.”

Pigcasso would have never had the chance to shine if she’d be left in such conditions, and her pieces are a reminder of that. 

She is not only a survivor, but an animal with a mission, as Farm Sanctuary puts it: “To paint a better world for pigs and inspire a more compassion world for all.”

Image via Farm Sanctuary South Africa