Pigcasso may have ended up like many of her friends as a pork chop, but life planned a different story for her. When she was a little pig, she was rescued by Joanne Lefson, who set up a farm near Cape Town in the beautiful vineyard area of the Winelands. It was a place where the animals rescued from industrial farms found their home. At that time, Pigcasso certainly didn’t have the feeling that great fame and even more, a mission to fulfil awaited her.
In the beginning, Joanne gave the piggy toys to keep her busy, but she destroyed all of them. All, except the paint brushes which were leftovers from painting the farm. This gave Joanne an idea. Soon, the pig was given a canvas and paint, and soon after she showed her unique talent. Her career has flourished and continues to grow at a dizzying pace. In 2017, she was "asked" to draw a racetrack for the German driver Michael Krumm from the Nissan car company. The ad for this event is available here here.
A year later, as the first “not human” in history, an exhibition (named "OINK") was organized in the prestigious Waterfront district of Cape Town. It didn’t end here, more success would be achieved later. In 2019, Pigcasso "teamed up" with the Swiss watch brand SWATCH and designed the look of one of them. The watches sold out immediately within hours, while Pigcasso was reaching the status of SWATCH’s most popular limited-edition artist in history.
After such achievements, it’s understandable that Pigcasso has a great reputation in the artistic world. Her paintings are not the cheapest ones. The most expensive painting was sold for USD6000. You can see more of her artwork here.. Only the original works with the artist's signature, i.e. Pigcasso’s nose-tip are selling. The income supports the farm that is registered as a non-profit organization.
Visiting Farm Sanctuary was a great experience. Not only Pigcasso, but also other animals have found their home here: two cute donkeys - Natcho and Kongo, the sociable goats -Herbie and Harvie, the cows: Baloo, Mooo-tise and others. What is great here, is that for a symbolic amount you can buy vegetables and try to feed them. It’s really fun for children and even adults. 😁 Each animal has its own favorite menu. Piggy Sue and Mona Lisa eat everything except spinach and oranges, cows love tomatoes, lettuce and .... vegan coconut cupcakes! I tried to feed Pigcasso a carrot, but it turned out she prefers apples and grapes instead. On the farm, you can spend time watching the animals, eat a vegan lunch or order a wine tasting: Pinot Noir which is Pigcasso Black edition, or a Pigcasso Pink blend. Both can be bought on the farm.
There is also another activity you can do at the farm - a sleepover with animals in the barn building. Specifically in the attic there is a spacious studio with a bathroom. The barn is open to visitors during the day, but from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. it's for guests' exclusive use. During busy times, I can recommend visiting the charming town of Franschhoek, which is the "French alley" in South Africa. It’s only a few minutes' drive from the farm and there is plenty to see and experience.
There is also a small "cottage" near the barn. One of its advantages is a roof terrace with an absolutely beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and vineyards and additionally an outside shower. For those who need more privacy, the farm also offers three beautiful cottages located close by: a farm cottage, a stone cottage and a designed modern barn. You find more information here. The rental prices range is R1200-1600 (USD 80-110) per night without meals.
I must admit that I like eating meat and it’d be hard for me to become a vegetarian. To be honest, in my daily diet, apart from choosing eggs from free-range hens, I didn't think too much about how my meal looked like. Whether a cow or a pig were treated well or not before they died.
Visiting the Farm Sanctuary and chatting with the employees of this place made me think about it. These animals have feelings and, just like us, they relate, they’re intelligent and they become attached to people. If they eventually land on a plate they shouldn’t suffer. Unfortunately this is a standard. I think places like Farm Sanctuary are important and make us conscious about what we eat. We as humans have an influence on the amount of meat sold. I don't know how about you, but I am in the process of changing my diet. Instead of steak (trust me South African steak is the best I've ever eaten), I often choose lighter meatless meals nowadays and I feel really good about it. . 😁