The sometimes bizarre-looking primates featured in the Monkey Modern painting show are all based on real-life animals. I have hung profiles next to each large painting at the show, for the audience’s interest and edification. For those who cannot visit the exhibition in person before it closes on November 30, I have reproduced the information here.

Huge thanks to Primate Info Net (, the National Primate Research Center’s comprehensive website, for allowing me to use their photos. Much of the information I used was also taken from the PIN website.

Monkey Modern continues to November 30, 2013
Flying Pony Gallery, 1481 Gerrard St E, Toronto, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.



Celebes Black Ape, acrylic on canvas, 36″x36″

Properly called crested black macaques, these Old World monkeys live on only two islands in Indonesia.

These small macaques average less than two feet in length. They live in groups ranging from 27 to 97 individuals. Crested black macaques spend much of the time foraging on the ground for fruit, plants and small animals.

Crested black macaques are critically endangered, with only 4000 to 6000 remaining in the wild. Conversion of forests to crop plantations, logging, hunting, and persecution by farmers are all pushing the crested black macaque to the edge of extinction.

Crested black macaque (photo courtesy of Primate Info Net)

Crested black macaque. Used with permission of Primate Info Net


Mandrill, acrylic on canvas, 36"x36"

Mandrill, acrylic on canvas, 36″x36″

Mandrills are large, ground-dwelling monkeys whose range includes forest and savannah regions of central west Africa. They live in packs called hordes.

Averaging 70 pounds, male mandrills are three time larger than females. Males also have longer canine teeth, almost two inches long. Mandrills’ omniverous diet includes fruit, leaves, bark, soil, mushrooms, insects, rodents, and small antelope. They are famous for their facial colouring.

Mandrill populations are vulnerable, with key threats coming from habitat loss and hunting.

Mandrill. Photo: Verena Behringer. Used with permission of Primate Info Net


Hoolock, acrylic on canvas, 36″x36″

Hoolock gibbons are small tailess apes native to India, Bangladesh, Burma and China. Both sexes have thick, shaggy hair and long limbs. The average hoolock gibbon is 32 inches tall and weighs between six and seven pounds. Hoolocks spend their lives high in the forest canopy, and only walk when the trees are too far apart to swing between.

Hoolocks are extremely threatened, with only 35,000 remaining in the wild. The main threats to hoolocks are habitat loss through deforestation, human disturbance, and hunting.

Hoolock. Pphoto: Gabriela Skollar. Used with permission of Primate Info Net

Hoolock. Photo: Gabriela Skollar. Used with permission of Primate Info Net


Uakari, acrylic on canvas, 36"x36"

Uakari, acrylic on canvas, 36″x36″

Uakaris are the largest of the New World monkeys. Uakaris reside in South America’s Amazon River basin. The average uakari is around 18 inches in length and weighs six pounds. Its red face is an indicator of good health.

White uakaris live in troops, and spend much of the day competing for fruit with macaws, squirrels and other tree-dwelling primates. They sleep in the treetops, a hundred feet above the forest floor.

Uakaris are considered vulnerable, but due to the density of the Amazon basin, total population is unknown.

Uakari. Photo: Luiz Claudio Marigo. Courtesy of Primate Info Net

Uakari. Photo: Luiz Claudio Marigo. Used with permission of Primate Info Net