6a. Did you feel pressure in representing such a great historical figure?
Very great pressure. Oh it was a huge undertaking. Especially because every
photograph I found, and I had people going to the Schomberg institute in New
York. I hired my cousin in New York to go to the Schaumburg for me and find
every photograph she could on Harriet Tubman, enlarge them and send them to
me which she did and what I found was that every photograph of Harriet Tubman
was intensely different. Her face seemed to change radically from photograph
to photograph. I
don't know, she'd be heavier in one, thin, kind of gaunt in another, very elderly in another, middle aged in one. I did see one of her as a very young woman that was at her home in Auburn New York. So with all of these different representations of her and then with the drawings, you know there are a million drawings of her, and they're all different too. So my task became: How can I give the feeling of her and blend all these images of her into one, so that people will look at her and feel that's Harriet, not
necessarily feel "Oh yeah, that's the photograph of her when she's standing in front of the building" or "that's her when she's old and she's 95 and sitting in a rocking chair," you know? I didn't want it to be that. So there are people who have questioned the likeness and I know that they're questioning it because I blended the likenesses and they're thinking of one photograph, saying "she doesn't look quite like that photograph." You know? So I tried to make her youthful, very few photographs of her as a youthful woman, but when she did most of her work she was in her youth. And she was a very short woman so it was a challenge to give her, to make her monumental but also let it be known that she was a small woman.