Painting by Chimpanzee Wins First Prize in Art Contest

08/30/2013 at 05:00 PM EDT

Painting by Chimpanzee Wins First Prize in Art Contest
Brent's work of art
Humane Society/AP (2)
He's got the competition licked!

A chimpanzee named Brent, who paints with his tongue, has won an art contest held by the Humane Society.

The 37-year-old primate, who has lived at Chimp Haven in Kentville, La., since 2006, won a $10,000 prize for the sanctuary, which will be used to expand the facility and prepare for new residents.

Brent creates his unique paintings by applying blobs of child-safe tempera paints onto a canvas with his tongue.

"His unique approach and style, while a little unorthodox, results in beautiful pieces of art," says a profile on the Humane Society website.

The retired laboratory animal – who "loves to laugh and play" – got the most votes among the more than 27,000 people who voted in the online competition.

The entries, from six primate sanctuaries, were also judged by primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, who selected a painting by Cheetah from Save the Chimps as her winner (Cheetah also came second in the public vote).

Painting is one of the enrichment programs that the sanctuaries use to enhance the lives of primates who are taken in after being used in research and entertainment or are former pets. The artworks are set to be auctioned off on eBay, with proceeds benefiting the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.

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