It's no secret that I like to paint, am not very good at it, but still enjoy this as a relaxing activity. Recently, the image of the Liberian chimpanzees with their hands outstretched, asking for a handout, really made an impression on me, so I decided to try to paint that.
The painting is nowhere near complete, but Bow wanted to take a closer look.
When Bow takes a closer look, he really gets close. Close enough to smell it.
Does Bow like to paint? Yes, but I have never been able to tell, just by looking at them, what his paintings are supposed to be. In my opinion, a painting is what it looks like to an objective observer and not what the artist says it represents. If objective observers all see different things, then it's an ink blot, not a painting. We have all seen images in the clouds, but we realize those images are actually in our heads and not in the clouds. When we look at a painting like Mona Lisa, there is no question as to what it's supposed to be. Nobody looks at that and sees a landscape or a still life.We may not know who the woman is, but we can tell it's a woman and what she is doing.
Watch These Birds Form Spectacular Shapes in the Sky
A flock of starlings take flight in what is known as a murmuration, a rare gathering that looks like dancing clouds.
However, I watched the video above of a flock of starlings, and for a moment I was sure they were forming a three dimensional image of a swan. Do the starlings know they are making a swan? I wondered. Probably not.
To prove that chimpanzees, like Bow, can make representational art, we have to be able to objectively determine what an observer would think it was an image of, and also that the chimpanzee intended that it be an image of that. If either element is missing, it's not representational art.
To prove that a chimpanzee understands representational art, you have only to ask him to identify what he sees. I am rather sure that Bow does indeed understand representational art. But to enroll him in an art appreciation class might be a problem.