The Iconic ATL Airport Ants

It has become more shocking to NOT see red fire ants crawling on the ceiling of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport than it ever was to see them there in the first place...

Brute Neighbors, a commissioned public art sculpture created and installed by ATL artist Joe Peragine in the summer of 2001 has just been removed without his knowledge. In the 15 years that the ants were scattered overhead the North and South Baggage Claim areas, they became iconic for so many of us. An article released by the Airport in November of 2010, highlighted the continued popularity of the piece and the element of surprise it offered travelers passing through.

Apparently, however, there have been intermittent grumblings about the ants from airport business owners and complaints from concerned parents over the years. As with other examples of public art, the sight of Brute Neighbors sparked both curiosity and controversy.

The circumstances surrounding the removal of the piece last Thursday are still not fully known. The ants will remain in storage until the fate of the work is determined and forthcoming renovations in the airport are completed. If you feel connected to this work and compelled to show support for its reinstallation, please send a note to the Airport Art Program Manager, David Vogt at

Details on the piece - which is described as being in the Airport’s “Permanent Art Collection" - can be found here.



To learn more about this significant artist, please visit Joe's website: