Art is the medium through which humanity communicates its deepest aspirations. It comes as no surprise, then, that examples of ant art can be found in cultures throughout the world and through time, dating back thousands of years. Here’s a look at ant art through the ages.

Hopi Rock Carvings

According to Hopi mythology, a race called the “Ant People” saved the Hopi to protect them during an ancient global cataclysm. Below are some Hopi rock carvings from northern Arizona.

hopicarvings

Aboriginal Australian Painting

This modern Australian aboriginal piece, “Going for Honey Ants”, is done in a style that has likely been passed down for generations. Insects such as honeypots ants have been a feature of aboriginal culture for thousands of years.

australianaboriginal_goingforhoneyants

Japanese Lacquer on Paper

An inspired 19th-century piece by artist Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891). This work, “Kaki to ari” (“Persimmon and Ants”), is held by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

kakatoari

Spanish Surrealist Painting

While artist Salvador Dalí is known for his hideous, immoral behavior of keeping an anteater as a pet, he also included ants in some of his most famous pieces. Can you find the ants in The Persistence of Memory (1931)?

the_persistence_of_memory

Dutch Graphic Art

This famous artwork by M.C. Escher, Möbius Strip II (Red Ants) was completed in 1963. While the morphology of the ants leaves something to be desired, it is hard to argue with the immortalization of ants in art.

mobius

Inspirational Art

In 1989, Japanese artist Yanagi Yukinori unveiled a true beauty, The World Flag Ant Farm. What appears at first to be simply a bunch of divided world maps is actually a piece of art that represents the world as one interconnected ant colony.

antfarm1antfarm2

Ant Art

This work, which sold for $35,000 as reported in The Telegraph in 2010, was completed using the bodies of 200,000 ants. It is called “Self Portrait With a Gun”, by Californian Chris Trueman.

selfportraitwithagun


Editor’s Note: The art presented above is merely a sample of the ant-inspired art produced by enlightened humans over the course of thousands of years.