It has been estimated that there was more than 30,000,000 bison roaming North America before the 1800s. During the 19th century, the herds were hunted to the brink of extinction with a mere 1091 bison left in 1889. Due to the efforts of a few early conservation-minded individuals and the resilient spirit of the bison, the herds slowly, but surely, began to fight their way back. Today the bison no longer have their original range of habitat but they are established and are not going away anytime soon.
In this bronze work titled “Return of thunder”, the bison develop from a very loose nondescript texture and it progresses to high detail as the herd moves forward. This variation in sculpting style, from loose to high detail, represents how the bison were almost lost to extinction and as the textures of the bronze become more focused and detailed it represents the conservation efforts that have begun to reestablish the bison herds in the wild places of North America and in many private herds, to preserve this iconic breed.
The Bison was recently officially named America’s National Mammal. This will hopefully serve to symbolize, to its citizens, the ability to persevere through great adversity.