Once Something Has Lived It Can Never Really Die

  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Wood, enamel, graphite, tin. found materials, industrial sealing compound, on wood
57 x 50.5 x 4 inches
Collection of
High Museum of Art
Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Lockett's most frequently used artistic metaphor was white American overculture's like treatment of animals and non-white peoples: “When [white] people came [to America], they saw buffalo, and they exploited them, and they just destroyed them, because they could. They had guns; they just shot them down because they just could. They didn't really shoot them down because they had to feed theyselves; they shot them down just because they could It's wrong to destroy anything.”

If works such as Hiroshima stir together history with black experience, the confined deer of the "Traps" series conjoins the fate of the environment and the history of African Americans. History becomes a series of figuralisms; the fates of other peoples throughout Western history and the fates of ecosystems are the precursors of African American history. The effort Lockett put into making these deer fragile and graceful would later return as a belief in the enduring, if ineffectual, power of art, as in Once Something Has Lived It Can Never Really Die.