Original - Oil on gallery wrap canvas
36" x 48"
This was a very labor intensive portrait of Harriet Tubman. The four corners in this painting represent the code quilts that gave information to the slaves about the Underground Railroad. Upper right is the “north star” pattern that guided them to freedom and Canada. The upper left corner is the “follow the flying geese” pattern which leads to the north. The lower right corner is the “crossroads” pattern indicating where to meet. The lower left is the “boat” pattern indicating to go by water.
Along the right panel of this painting I have illustrated Harriet as a nurse, in her military attire, and the troops led into battle. The lower panel is a panorama of escaping slaves showing how they had to fight for their lives, run and hide for miles, sail in rickety boats under the cover of night. The left panel is dedicated to how slaves were hidden in homes along the route to freedom and the top home belonged to Harriet Tubman after she settled in New York. Across the top of the painting you can see the basic map of the Underground Railroad route from the south to Canada. I have included the first notes and words of two spirituals that were used to alert the slaves of the Underground Railroad. “Steal Away” and “Wade In The Water”. You can see slave shackles that awaited the runaways and the cotton boll that awaited their labor. In the center of the canvas is a portrait of Harriet Tubman and I put the night sky behind her with the moonlight shining down on her. In the background sky I have included the big dipper star pattern indicating another of the codes of “follow the drinking gourd” which is pointing to the North Star.
Harriet Tubman’s life was a monument to courage and determination that continues to stand out in American history. Born into slavery in 1819 or 1820, in Dorchester County Maryland, 1834-1836 Araminta Minty Ross, later known as Harriet Tubman was struck on the head by an iron weight thrown by an angry overseer, nearly killing her. She suffered from serious side affects from this head injury for the rest of her life. Harriet Tubman freed herself, and played a major role in freeing over 300 slaves to the north. Under the command of General James Montgomery, Tubman became the first woman to lead an armed raid during the Civil War. She was the Moses to her people, a Civil War hero, community and civil rights advocate.