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Giant ants are infesting the Saatchi Gallery

Rafael Gómezbarros' sculptures tell the story of the migrant worker

The Saatchi Gallery in London is swarming with giant ants. The massive insects are on the ceiling and on the walls. They teem in the corners, their bodies pressed so thickly together that it is almost possible to imagine that they might be guarding a nest. Rafael Gómezbarros' sculptures measure 50 centimeters (20 inches) in length, and are put together from materials like resin, fiber glass, and human skull casts. Entitled Casa Tomada (Taken House), the skin-crawling exhibit is meant to depict the plight of immigrant workers across the world. It is also a tribute to his countrymen whose lives have been affected by the Colombian conflict, which has been raging for half a century now.

In an interview with The City Paper, Gómezbarros explains that he chose ants as his subject material as they represent a fascinating duality. While often symbolic of hard labour and cooperation, the insects are also frequently regarded as pests — just like the immigrant worker. The Saatchi Gallery is not the first place that the artist's colony has taken up residence. In the past, they've been seen crawling across Bogotá's National Congress building and over the walls of political leader Simón Bolívar's resting place. Gómezbarros' installation is part of the Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, which will run until November 2nd.

All images copyright Rafael Gómezbarros.

Colombia’s giant ants


London, United Kingdom, 2014.