Once There Were Many

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    Photo: Gamma One Conversions
Tin, nails, pencil, on wood
40 x 42 inches
Collection of
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston

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 and endangered bison of Once Their Were Many conjoin 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.