Exhibit Catalog


Art by apes on exhibit at Books + Books October 2023

About the Exhibit

For three decades, Patti Ragan, the visionary founder and director of the Center for Great Apes, has been unwavering in her commitment to offering a lifelong sanctuary for rescued orangutans and chimpanzees. Imbued with safety and respect, the Center not only furnishes a secure haven but also tenders medical attention, enrichment activities, and balanced sustenance for its family of 68 great apes. Among the diverse array of enrichment initiatives, painting stands as a particularly intriguing endeavor.

This unusual series of exhibits, titled “Primate Paintings + Portraits,” casts a spotlight on the artistic expressions of chosen orangutans and chimpanzees. Notable contributors include Bubbles, the chimpanzee who once graced Michael Jackson’s life as a pet, and Sandra, the orangutan from Argentina who attained the unique status of legal personhood. As their brushstrokes grace the canvas, these primate artists offer us a glimpse into their world, sharing their individual stories through the strokes of color and form.

Enrichment activities are created and managed by the dedicated caregivers at the Center for Great Apes. The following caregivers were instrumental in this art exhibit. Special thanks to them for all they do every day: Tammy Buhrmester, Mandy Chorman, Jessie Farrington, Sydney Kolpien, Daileen Grega, Elizabeth Fochtman, Shannon Snead


Note: The photos above of the art are not necessarily a true representation of the colors of the art. Smartphones and computer screens have different digital displays and color output.

If interested in purchasing the art, please contact jane (at) centerforgreatapes (dot) org

Thank you for your support!

Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation, Inc. dba Center for Great Apes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FEID 65-0444725.

© 2020 Center for Great Apes. All Rights Reserved.

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