Most people consider ants to be pests. But for others, the tiny creatures serve as an uncanny source of inspiration.
That person is Zat Low, who transformed his love for the insect into a two-storey museum filled with exhibitions, interactive displays, and works of art. Over at The Singapore Ant Museum, explore an unseen world of ants and gain a better understanding of the creature through 50 different native species, and some 25 intricately designed formicariums, or ant farms.
A serendipitous encounter with the insect – a queen ant flew into his mouth during a particularly low period – sparked an interest in the matter. “It’s my destiny,” shares Zat on how his ant-keeping hobby first started. He took to the Internet to find out more, and started a community group, called Singapore Ants, to bring like-minded collectors together. Support from the members spurred Zat to open a permanent museum space, where people can learn more about the insect.
The educational journey begins on the second floor, which houses a variety of ant species, sourced from various “secret spots” around Singapore. Peep at the menacing Trap-jaw Ants, which comes with huge mandibles that can snap shut at staggering speeds, creating a force so large it propels the ant away from danger. Or witness the feeding of Asian Army Ants, a species with drastic size difference among its workers.
Then head down to the first floor, and admire the many ant-inspired paintings and artworks that line the walls. But more striking are the majestic formicarium creations – conceptualised and created by Zat to double up as works of art. A zen garden, a golden music box, and even a depiction of the Garden of Eden, are just some whimsical examples of how Zat interprets his personal reflections through the life of ants.
He hopes that through a visit to The Singapore Ant Museum, people can see the tiny insect in a different light. For one, ants are highly intelligent creatures. “They are geniuses in ‘prison break’,” Zat jokes on the difficulties of running an ant museum.
“There are just so many similarities between ants and humans,” he adds.