In Pictures: Art by animals wows London

Take a look at these paintings by arty animals, they might have more artistic skills than you do?!

Flower Pot by Boon Mee, an elephant from Samutprakarn Zoo, Thailand

Flower Pot by Boon Mee, an elephant from Samutprakarn Zoo, Thailand

An exhibition featuring works of art by apes, orangutans, gorillas, chimps and an elephant has come to UCL’s Grant Museum of Zoology. The exhibition asks visitors to put on their thinking cap to adjudge whether animals can be creative and why some animal creations are considered valuable and creative, while others are dismissed as meaningless.

The highlight of the exhibition is a painting of a flowerpot by the elephant Boon Mee who was formerly a logging elephant in Thailand.

Another is a finger painting entitled “Digit Master” by a chimp called Bakhari.

Museum co-curator and animal art critic Mike Tuck said: “It was a painting using his fingers and the marks are quite clear. To me it seems to be a very joyful work which suggests that the sensation of moving the paint was a pleasurable one. It is so close to the painting of a child.”

Jack Ashby, Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology, said: “Whether this is actually art is the big question. While individual elephants are trained to always paint the same thing, art produced by apes is a lot more creative and is almost undistinguishable from abstract art by humans that use similar techniques.”

By Baka, a Sumatran Orang-utan from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado

By Baka, a Sumatran Orang-utan from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado

“Ape art is often compared to that of two or three year old children in the ‘scribble stage’,” he added.

By Samantha, a western lowland Gorilla from Erie Zoo, Pennsylvania

By Samantha, a western lowland Gorilla from Erie Zoo, Pennsylvania

Digit Master by Bakhari, a chimp from Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri

Digit Master by Bakhari, a chimp from Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri

By Joseph, a Sumatran Orang-utan, Erie Zoo, Pennsylvania

By Joseph, a Sumatran Orang-utan, Erie Zoo, Pennsylvania

Art by Animals is part of the Humanimals Season at the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology, and runs from 1 February to 9 March 2012. The Museum is open to the public 1-5pm, Monday to Friday. Admission is free and there is no need to book.

Photo credit: Rob Eagle/UCL

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