McNay Art Museum obtains bronze snail sculpture

The monument representing African culture stands seven feet tall.

Hank Willis Thomas, History of the Conquest, 2017. Bronze. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds from Ben Foster in memory of Raye B. Foster, 2021. (McNay Art Museum)

SAN ANTONIO – The newest addition to the McNay Art Museum’s outdoor sculpture collection is “History of Conquest” by Hank Willis Thomas.

Located in the Mays Family Park, the museum’s newest addition stands seven feet tall and features a child holding a bow while riding an intricately decorated snail.

The bronze sculpture alludes to a German Baroque sculpture currently on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

The sculpture honors African culture while referencing the history of African heritage.

“The McNay is committed to expanding its collection of artworks by contemporary artists of color—indoors and outdoors,” said René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs.

The large-scale figure showcases a narrative that brings to life the history of African descent.

“Thanks to very generous support in memory of beloved McNay supporter, Raye B. Foster, we are able to advance that Museum-wide goal with our first work in any medium by Hank Willis Thomas,” said Barilleaux.

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About the Author:

Emily Ramirez is a Digital Producer trainee for KSAT 12. She has written and photographed for several magazines and newspapers, including San Antonio Magazine, Austin Monthly and the San Antonio Current. A proud San Antonio native and graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, she is now completing her M.A. at UTSA.