The Keys

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    Photo: Thomas Birdwell
Coins, jewelry, buttons, keys, glass cabochons, wood, toys, paint, on wood
80 x 30 inches
Collection of
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

"Ruby Diamond is one of the most important people here in Tallahassee, very wealthy, has a lot of power. Owned a big motel. She died, left some of her possessions with her driver, Smiley. He offered to sell me some of it. I found a big box of Ruby Diamond's keys, keys that had been used to open a lot of motel-room doors. Ruby Diamond donated a lot of money to Florida State University for a big auditorium. She opened a lot of doors for people. I thought about that. I didn't know if she was a Christian woman or not, but she had a good heart. She opened doors here on earth. I used her keys as a symbol around Christ, who has the keys to heaven or hell. He can open the right door for us."