Like most artists, Jamie chooses to express her creative mind in a variety of ways. Jamie spent the first nine years of her life living with a human as a “pet” and being used in the entertainment industry. While we know virtually nothing about this time in Jamie’s life, she often chooses to engage in human oriented activities, most likely as a result of her unnatural childhood. For example, today Jamie chose to arrive for lunch wearing a red bandana tied around her neck (which she untied and re-adjusted half way through her meal). While we certainly do not advocate for chimpanzees being dressed in clothing, here at CSNW we do try to offer a variety of enrichment (including clothing) to accommodate their individuals interests. If the chimpanzees want to wear things, tear them up, play tug-o-war, make a nest with them, or ignore them, it’s their choice. Choice being the key word here. We recognize that each of the chimpanzees have unnatural histories which have influenced their individual interests and that plays a key role in developing individualized enrichment to keep their intelligent minds active.
Notice the perfect knot Jamie incorporated into her bandana!
Jamie chooses to wear clothing less and less since arriving at the sanctuary. While we want Jamie and her family to be able to engage in whatever interests them, it also thrills us to see their unique “chimpanzee-ness” coming out more and more. For Jamie, that sometimes still means wearing a bandana to lunch, patrolling the perimeter of Young’s Hill with her cowgirl boot, and occasionally drawing and painting when there is no “business” to take care of as Boss of the sanctuary. And that’s what sanctuary is all about, choices and the ability to express one’s self as one wants. And the art of expressing herself as she wants is something Jamie is a true artist at.
If you haven’t cast your vote for Jamie’s artwork yet in the Humane Society’s chimpanzee-only art contest, please do so now! It’s a wonderful way to help our artist-in-residence and her chimpanzee family!