Nestled away in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley, lies Farm Sanctuary SA, an inspiring non profit organisation that is home to the famous painting hog, Pigcasso. This week, we learnt more about her story.

Joining us is Joanne Lefson, Founder and Director of Farm Sanctuary SA. Established in 2016, Farm Sanctuary SA has become a boutique sanctuary for rescued farm animals. 

The sanctuary aims to create a positive connection between consumers and farm animals in order to inspire a more compassionate and sustainable way of living for everyone, human and non-human. 

Today, they offer public tours, wine tasting, and a unique barn accommodation however, their most famous attraction is by far Pigcasso.

“Back in 2016, I went to a local hog farm and there were thousands of piglets running around, and I had to grab one,” explains Joanne.

“I was trying to catch a little piglet and managed to catch one and this was the piglet that would become Pigcasso.” 

As pigs are very intelligent animals, Joanne wanted to make sure that Pigcasso was entertained. She left balls, paint brushes and other toys in the barn for her to play with.

“It was interesting because Pigcasso literally ate and destroyed everything that I gave her except these brushes,” she says.

This fascinated Joanne and as someone with a creative background, she decided to see if she could get Pigcasso to paint. It didn’t take long before Pigcasso was painting.

“It didn’t take long before she was willing and able and very excited to actually go up towards a canvas and to paint across it and of course, the rest is history,” exclaims Joanne.

The process of painting is a collaboration. Pigcasso is definitely the artist, the only one that paints on the canvas. However, Joanne sets up everything for her, including the colours.

Once Pigcasso is finished painting, her nose is put in some black ink and she signs the artwork with it, making it a completed original Pigcasso. 

Although Pigcasso’s art is done on her own accord, there is a deeper reason behind the selling of her works.

“We are a non profit sanctuary and it’s really to inspire compassion for farm animals,” says Joanne, “it’s really just a way for people to look at the amazing artwork, and reconnect with a living farm animal, and hopefully look at their food differently and certainly never eat bacon again.”

On average, an original Pigcasso painting goes for between R20 000 and R80 000 however, at the end of 2021, Pigcasso’s “Wild and Free” sold for R400 000. 

Pigcasso’s story has inspired many. So much so that she has featured on global leading media networks including BBC, CNN, SKY News and ABC, to name a few. In addition, she designed the 2019 SWATCH watch and a wine label. So whats next for Pigcasso?

“We have an exhibition in Germany for three months during this European summer, we also have another exhibition in Amsterdam at the end of August.”

Pigcasso’s masterpieces certainly make a world of difference to animal welfare.



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