2015, metal gate, bell, keys, zipties, permanent markers, basket, Commissioned by Ordain Women
The "Keys" public art installation was commissioned by and created in collaboration with Ordain Women, which is an organization of Mormons who are seeking gender equality and ordination of women in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) religion. The artwork was created to be a platform for people to voice the gender inequalities within the religion and their hope for change. The "Keys" was inaugurated on October 3rd, 2015 to reflect this year’s OW theme, “Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future,” action at City Creek Park in Salt Lake City near the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) Conference Center. During this action on October 3rd, a group of participants along with 300 names in proxy attached keys to the gate. Participants took part in a ritual where they would state their name; what the key represents to them; attach the key to the gate; and ring the bell as they walk through the gate.
Within the Mormon faith all men and young boys starting at the age of 12 have access to receive "Priesthood keys," which grants them spiritual and governing power and authority within the church. Women do not receive the same privilege and opportunity. The keys in the project is symbolic of full participation for women in all religious communities. In the ritual, saying the name is significant because it represents the person and announces to the world the person's participation. It is sometimes hard to give voice to the pain and struggle of gender inequality. This bell signifies an alarm or siren - a signal that we will no longer be silent. Walking through the gate symbolizes our entrance into a new world - a world where not only Mormon women are ordained but women in all religions and secular lives enjoy gender equality.
The “Keys” public art installation was featured as part of the Women in Religion Initiative at the Parliament of the World’s Religions conference in Salt Lake City, 15-19 October 2015. As keys continue to be added to the gate, it will travel in the US and remain a permanent monument in Utah to the movement for women’s equality in religion.
Thank you to Chelsea Shields, Lorie Winder Stromberg, Mark Barnes, and all the participants, supporters, and donors of Ordain Women who funded this project.
Photos below from the Parliament of World's Religions' Exhibition