This abstract painting created by an art-loving orangutan is going under the hammer for charity with bids already topping 500 GBP.
The colourful piece is the work of Raja, a 47-year-old female orangutan at a zoo in the city of Gdansk, in northern Poland’s Pomorskie Province.
Michal Targowski, the zoo’s director, revealed that Raja often spent hours on her paintings for which she had a real – and rare – enthusiasm.
He said: “I have spent many years working with animals and – please believe me – such passion in an animal, to paint and draw happens very rarely. When she gets crayons and a sheet of paper, she knows exactly what to do, draw.
“As primates, orangutans develop throughout their first three years in a similar way to humans, particularly in terms of psyche, intellectual possibilities, association and thinking.
“She brings her work to us by hand and there is never a crease in the paper. She knows that it gives her, and obviously us, a great deal of pleasure.”
Raja’s keeper Michal Krause was so impressed with the 42 cm by 30 cm (16.5 ins by 12 ins) work that he decided to auction it off for charity.
The artwork, in red and green non-toxic poster paints, is being auctioned online to raise money for Poland’s Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOSP), which supports children’s hospitals.
And, just two days after appearing on the charity’s auction site, bidding for Raja’s creation has already reached 2,550 PLN (536 GBP).
Raja shares her life at the zoo in Gdansk with a second orangutan named Albert, who is two years younger. They are Poland’s only orangutans.
A variety of animals have been credited with creating art over the years including apes, elephants, dolphins and even rabbits.
Among the most famous was Koko, a gorilla, which lived most of her life at the Gorilla Foundation’s preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains of the US state of California.
Koko famously created many paintings over the years and also learned more than 1,000 hand signs.
She also met and interacted with many celebrities including Robin Williams, William Shatner, Leonardo DiCaprio and Sting.