About this artwork
Kara Walker’s use of silhouettes is inspired by the folk tradition commonly practiced by “proper ladies,” particularly during the years leading up to the Civil War. By loading her images with sexual content, mythological undertones, and voodoo symbolism, Walker subverts the gentle tradition by grafting onto it her contemporary point of view that the slave girl uses her sexuality as the key to her release: the key to the chicken coop that she dangles from her finger implies this. Like her masters over her, she holds the freedom of this chicken in the palm of her hand.
- Kara Walker
- Keys to the Coop
- United States (Artist's nationality:)
- Linocut on white wove paper
- 117.5 × 153.8 cm (46 5/16 × 60 9/16 in.)
- Purchased with funds provided by Dr. and Mrs. Paul Sternberg