You’ve heard about elephants painting with their trunks and puppy paw print works of art. Now, monkeys are putting their opposable thumbs to good use and taking up the paintbrush.
The rescued monkeys at The Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary in Gainesville, Fla. probably don’t trouble themselves with holding painters’ palettes or wearing properly tilted berets, but they do enjoy a good splash in the paint, much like toddlers do.
The monkeys, whose art works will be displayed this weekend at Palace Station, used to be housed in a Las Vegas sanctuary until Jungle Friends Founder Kari Bagnall, who had resided in Las Vegas for 30 years, relocated the sanctuary to Florida. Bagnall and local ARTV President Audrey Roberts have organized Monkey Biz: A Multimedia Event this weekend to raise money for the sanctuary.
When we took a look at the monkeys’ art samples, they conjured up memories of refrigerator masterpieces from our childhoods. We asked Hannah G., a local toddler at Mountain Heights Montessori School, to submit a piece of her own original artwork for comparison. Though she opted for watercolors, while monkeys like Hayley and Charlotte went with brightly colored temperas and acrylics, the similarities are striking. Another primate Picasso, Udi, who looks very much the tortured artistic soul, painted a work entitled “Journey’s End.”
On Friday night, the public is invited to a VIP reception with “Monkey Shine” cocktails and entertainment with singer Maggie Albisani from 7-8 p.m. followed by a vegan dinner until 10 p.m. with music by local jazz group BLu7. However, the real stars of the show will be the monkeys and their artwork. Sadly, the actual monkey artists cannot attend the parties, their social calendar is far too packed, but their artwork and video presentations will be on display throughout Friday evening and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Funds raised from the art sales will go directly to the sanctuary.
Most of these monkeys are rescued from research labs where they often end up with diseases like diabetes after years of scientific testing. Without safe havens like sanctuaries, Udi’s prophecy of a “Journey’s End” would be a reality. “Pharmaceutical companies don’t provide a retirement plan,” Roberts said, “The Jungle Friends Sanctuary is a place where monkeys can socialize, paint and just be monkeys.”
Hmmm. We didn’t know that painting and “just being monkeys” went hand in hand. Guess every primate needs a hobby in retirement. What’s next for the gang? A local crepe stand?