What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Jane Goodall

While Pigcasso had already shown symptoms of arthritis over the past few years, her physical condition rapidly deteriorated in September 2023. By early October, both of her back legs had become lame due to the calcification of her lower spine aggravated by chronic Rheumatoid arthritis; both incurable conditions directly linked with the manipulations and modifications that farm animals are subjected to on today’s industrialized factory farms. She was almost 8 years old. 

Hearing of Pigcasso's deteriorating condition, Dr Jane Goodall, a big fan of Pigcasso and her art, had flown to Farm Sanctuary SA to meet her - arrived one day too late. Dr.Goodall still shared a fitting tribute to the pig at a gala event the day following Pigcasso’s passing that raised over R300 000 for Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots.  

Rescued by Joanne Lefson in May 2016 from an intensive factory farm in South Africa just weeks before she would be sent to the slaughterhouse, Pigcasso was taken to Farm Sanctuary SA, a non-profit foundation that provides a safe sanctuary settingfor rescued farmed animals in Franschhoek. From the moment the piglet arrived, she ate or destroyed everything except a paint brush that had been left in her stall. Lefson was intrigued by the pig’s interest in the brush and decided to see if the pig may want to paint. Lefson modified the brush to fit the pig’s mouth and it didn’t take long before ‘Pigcasso’ was creating art across a canvas that Lefson had placed into her stall.

By 2017, news of Pigcasso's  artistic talent was becoming known.  In January 2018, Pigcasso became the first animal artist to host a solo art exhibition – held at the V&A Waterfront (Cape Town South Africa). Over the years that followed, Pigcasso continued to host solo exhibitions around the world which included Netherlands (Amsterdam 2021) Germany (Hann-Munden 2022) France (St. Tropez 2023) China (Shanghai/ Beijing2023/2024 - currently active) and United Kingdom (London December 2023).

Pigcasso headlined NISSAN’s 50th anniversary marketing campaign that same year. In2019, she designed the 2019 SWATCH watch which sold out globally within hours.

In 2021, Pigcasso made international headlines when she sold ‘WILD AND FREE’ to a German a buyer for 20 000GBP. This was an official world record for the highest selling artwork ever painted by an animal. The previous record was held by a Chimpanzee called Congo who’s three artworks sold for £14.000 in 2005.

Pigcasso made headlines over time for having painted Prince Harry, the Queen, Donald Trump and co. Her art is collected by the likes of Ed Westwick, Rafael Nadal and Dr Jane Goodall. The book ‘Pigcasso, The Painting Pig that Saved a Sanctuary’ was released in September last year and a documentary about Pigcasso’s life will be released later this year.

Pigcasso raised millions of rands from the sale of her artworks making her the most successful non-human artist in world history. This is not only a testament to her extraordinary creativity and intelligence - but the revenue raised also benefits and sustains Farm Sanctuary SA where she lived - and supports other charities that resonate with her mission.  

From slaughterhouse to record-breaking global art sensation, Pigcasso's life was simply extraordinary. She not only challenged the art fraternity, but Pigcasso's inspired millions of people to acknowledge farmed animals as the sentient individuals that they are – each one worthy of our empathy and compassion. I remain so fortunate to have collaborated with such an intelligentand creative individual and Pigcasso’s art and legacy will continue - as will our mission to inspire a kinder and more sustainable world for all.

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