Insects, including ants, are often used as subjects for artistic and literary works, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, computer graphics, poems and stories. Renderings are often stylistic and do not relate directly to ant species such as the red or black imported fire ants. However, ants have always fascinated man for their intelligence, resourcefulness, social structure, and nest-building activities. This module was developed to bring together examples of art and literature using ants.
Xtreme Ants in Hawaii included an
exhibit of fire ant art.
Photo courtesy of Carol Russell.
|A fire ant necklace by jewelry
artist Michael Ellison.
A commemorative pin from
|A brooch depicting a fire ant.
Photo by Kathy Flanders.
|One of the best known renderings
of ants was made by the Dutch
artist M.C. Escher in his lithograph
of a mobius strip.
|A rendering of a fire ant
|Line art is also a popular
form of fire ant art.
1996 IFA Conference logo
by Bart Drees.
Caricatures of imported fire
ants have adorned the
of Imported Fire Ant
and t-shirts based on
Rafael Gomezbarros' 2008
work "Casa Tomada"
(transl. seized home)
depicted giant ants crawling
over the face of the National
Congress building in Bogota.
View the PDF of this exhibit.
|Wax cast of a fire ant
mound. Photo courtesy
of Kelly Loftin,
University of Arkansas.
Fire ants are artists as
In literature, one of the best known and often illustrated ant stories for children is The Ant and the Grasshopper, a fable by Aesop, retold and illustrated by Amy Lowry Poole, a Holiday House Book, Ages 4 - 8, New York, 2000. 29 pp.:
The Ant and the Grasshopper
A long time ago, in the old Summer Palace at the edge of the Emperor's courtyard, there lived a grasshopper and a family of ants. The ants awoke every day before dawn and began their endless tasks of rebuilding their house of sand, which had been washed down by the evening rains, and searching for food, which they would store beneath the ground. They carried their loads grain by grain, back and forth, all day long.
The grasshopper liked to sleep late into the morning, rising as the sun stretched toward noon. "Silly ants," he would say. "You work too hard. Come follow me into the courtyard, where I will sing and dance for the great Emperor." The ants kept working.
"Silly ants," the grasshopper would say. "See the new moon. Feel the summer breeze. Let us go together and watch the Empress and her ladies as they prepare for midsummer's eve." But the ants ignored the grasshopper and kept working.
Soon the days grew shorter and the wind brought cooler air from the north. The ants, mindful of the winter to come, worked even harder to secure their home against the impending cold and snow. They foraged for food and brought it back to their nest, saving it for those cold winter months.
"Silly ants," said the grasshopper. "Don't you ever rest? Today is the harvest festival. The Emperor will feast on mooncakes and sweet greens from the fields. I will play my music for him until the moon disappears into the smooth lake water. Come and dance with me."
"You will do well to do as we do," said one of the ants. "Winter is coming soon and food will be hard to find. Snow will cover your house and you will freeze without shelter." But the grasshopper ignored the ant's advice and continued to play and dance until the small hours of the morning.
Winter arrived a week later and brought whirls of snow and ice. The Emperor and his court left the Summer Palace for their winter home in the great Forbidden City. The ants closed their door against the ice and snow, safe and warm, resting at last after their long days of preparation. And the grasshopper huddled beneath the palace eaves and rubbed his hands together in a mournful chirp, wishing he had heeded the ant's advice.
Freddy the Fire Ant, mascot of Marshall Fire Ant Festival with B. Drees.