These artists come in all shapes and sizes: Some have trunks, some have antennae, and some are covered in fur or feathers.
The public can see and purchase masterpieces created by elephants, apes, insects, big cats, penguins, river otters and others at O’Niell’s in Nob Hill, 4310 Central NE, and online. There are 15 works available for purchase at the pub and more online at the New Mexico BioPark Society’s website, bioparksociety.org/main/animal-art. The art will be on display throughout July. The public can view the art hanging at O’Niell’s while adhering to social distancing guidelines and wearing masks.
“Painting is part of our enrichment and training program, and it just varies depending on the animal,” said Allyson Zahm, development director at the New Mexico BioPark Society. “For elephants, for example, our youngest elephant, Thorn, is learning to present his trunk to the zookeepers, and they can check it, they can do medical procedures, as long as he trusts them with his trunk. So that’s a big step. Part of the training process is allowing the zookeepers to touch his trunk so they just put paint on there and then he can stamp it onto a canvas to make what we call a ‘Thorn Kiss.’ And this is all building behavior he’s going to need once he gets really big and once the zookeepers will need to work with him on all kinds of issues throughout his life.”