Assist-ants! – Artist seeks the help of insects to help create miniature masterpieces

An imaginative artist has sought help from an army of (assist)ANTS in order to create half-living-half-drawn masterpieces.

Iantha Naicker, 29, who is audio-impaired, creates the moving artworks in her garden studio, in Durban, South Africa.

With the assistance of up to 300 ants at a time, inventive Iantha, a full-time fine artist, paints out the likes of dancing bears, rhinos and even superheroes using fruit juice.

The insects, who are repaid for their time with a refreshing sugary drink, are coastal brown ants – commonly known as big headed ants.

This variation of ant ranges in colour, helping the nature-loving artist with the likes of shading.


Iantha said: “I think in art you often want to capture beauty, and I find that there is so much beauty in nature so I’m trying to incorporate that into my work.

“I find being deaf and working as an artist is a little isolating. 

“We learn many techniques of art whilst we study, though we don’t learn about the business side of being an artist which, I think, is a little more challenging when you have a communication barrier.


“I rarely remember the inspiration or exact moment I get an idea, but sometimes I’ll see an image, like the yin and yang sign, and it just lends itself to the ant technique. 

“For me, the part when some of the ants are leaving the juiced area and spreading out is the most beautiful time, rather than when they’re perfectly placed within the lines.

Iantha is currently considering a way to overcome the logistical challenges she faces in selling her half-living art.

The 29-year-old also delves into different forms of art, such as pin-pricking portraits into leaves and using her hand as canvas for her 3D paintings.