Paintings, carvings and poetry by birds, apes, elephants and sea lions will feature in an online art exhibition at a Griffith University conference next month.

A related digital art exhibit by humans will explore creativity from an animal perspective.

Exhibition curators and School of Arts lecturers Professor Paul Tacon and Jason Nelson said while it was a quirky exhibition it had a serious aspect.

“We hope to highlight many different aspects of creativity as well as our relationships with, and relatedness to, other creatures. Ultimately, what makes us human will be questioned,” Professor Tacon said.

He said for over 50 years animals had learned to paint, draw and even make music.

“Animal behaviourist Desmond Morris experimented with chimpanzees in the late 1950s, providing them with paint to better understand both chimp and human creativity.

“His most successful subject, Congo, produced more than 400 paintings, some of which recently gained record prices at auction. Picasso, Miro and Dali all had Congo pieces in their personal collections.”

Professor Tacon said research had shown that the art programs in which animals had participated were of immense benefit to them — decreasing boredom and improving both psychological and physical health.

The online exhibition is part of the Griffith’s Art of the Animal symposium at Sea World Nara Resort on November 27 and 28.

Entries are now open for the online exhibition. For further details visit:

MEDIA CONTACT:Arts & Education Communications Officer Deborah Marshall 07 3735 5245, 0408 727 734