The artist behind the exhibition entitled "Strong and soft
touches" is a 423-kilogram (930 pound) brown bear named Juuso
who uses his body, especially his paws, as paintbrushes.
"We just leave paint for him, some plywood and paper ... If we
ask him to do it, he doesn't do anything. He does all the work
in his own time, when he's alone, sitting and moving his legs on
the paper," said Pasi Jantti, one of his keepers.
Juuso, who is 17 years old, favors blue and red, the keeper
said, adding that the paints used posed no health risk to the
His keepers discovered Juuso's artistic bent one day while
painting some facilities at Kuusamo animal center in northern
Finland where he has been living since being orphaned as a cub.
"Juuso got some paint in his paws and started to make marks with
them. We noticed that he liked it," Jantti said.
The center raised about 8,000 euros ($8,500) by selling 15
paintings produced by Juuso. The exhibition now opening at the
Rupla gallery in Helsinki features 11 pieces of original work
and some prints and are priced from 50 to 4,000 euros.
Some of the paintings still feature bits of Juuso's fur. Funds
raised from the exhibition will be used to make a documentary
($1 = 0.9354 euros)
(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Attila Cser; Editing by Gareth
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