Pigcasso: The pig creating art that sells for thousands

Credit: AP

A pig that was saved from a slaughterhouse now spends her days creating artworks that sell for up to $2,000 (£1,600).

Aptly named Pigcasso after her namesake Picasso, she started painting in October last year.

She now has her own art gallery, with art collectors describing her pieces as "abstract".

The sow was brought to the South African animal sanctuary where she now lives when she was a piglet.

The manager of the sanctuary Joanne Lefson, who rescued Pigcasso, says she first noticed the sow's talent when she placed some balls and paintbrushes in her pen to play with.

"It wasn't long before I discovered that she really liked the bristles and the paintbrush for some reason. And it was just a case of nurturing that talent," she said.

The artwork, some of which now hangs in Pigcasso's very own art gallery on the farm, has sold for prices ranging from $280 to $2,000.

The funds raised from art sales go towards the South African Farm Sanctuary, a haven for rescued farm animals.

The sow's owner says she could tell Pigcasso had an innate talent for art when she was a piglet. Credit: APTN

One of the buyers, German art collector Frank Schoenan, said there are many reasons why he likes Pigcasso's art.

"When I looked through the art collection, what was important for me was which piece I start a relationship with," he said.

"For my choice what was very important was the colour selection, and the brush stroke on the canvas was also important for me.

"I would say also the whole composition. It looks a bit like pop art maybe because of the colours. These are the reasons I like the piece."

The sow has her work displayed in a gallery on the farm sanctuary where she lives. Credit: APTN

The sanctuary manager Joanne Lefson hopes Pigcasso can use her new-found-fame to draw attention to the way in which factory pig farms operate.

"Pigcasso wants to help consumers make the connection between what they eat and the life of an amazing individual, and hopefully inspire them to make kinder more compassionate choices at the supermarket," she said.

The animal rights advocate is campaigning for the law to outlaw female pigs being kept in solitary cells when pregnant and instead to be kept in group pens in South African piggeries.

Credit: APTN

Ms Lefson described the cell confinement systems as "outdated in the EU and in many other parts of the world".

The European Union ruled in 2013 that pregnant sows must be placed in group pens for at least the first two and half months of the four month pregnancy.

The latest artwork by the prolific artist can be seen on the Sanctuary's website.

Sanctuary managers hope Pigcasso's work can "boldly go where no pig's prints have gone before" and one day feature in a Paris or New York art gallery.