Knitted Harriet Tubman $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman knitted $20 bill​

2020, machine knitted acrylic
Size: 60 x 164 cm

Background to artwork:

The starting point for this artwork was the alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill by George Floyd which led to him losing his life. George’s murder was witnessed by millions of people on TV and social media. This led to a demonstration around the world under the ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner. I was deeply affected by his death and took part in a ‘Black Lives Matter’ peaceful protest in Hastings, East Sussex.

When I heard on the news that the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman which was due to be released in 2020 was going to be delayed until 2028 – plus there was no guarantee that Tubman would be on the new note, I decided to knit a note to honour Harriet Tubman and George Floyd. President Obama had originated the plan to put Tubman on the $20 bill and design work was said to be well underway; so like many people I was disappointed.

Symbolism:

I started to think about the elements that are included on a note to stop it being copied. The serial numbers shown are George Floyd’s date of birth and date of when he was killed. This fits in with the counterfeit narrative as the dates do not relate to Harriet. The addition of the ‘S’ to the word ‘matter’, speak to the ‘matters’ Black people have to deal with such as the law, education,  banking, housing etc. I have included a cross as Harriet had a strong religious faith. She spoke of “consulting with God”, and trusted that He would keep her safe in her role of “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War.

Knitted Harriet Tubman $20 bill featuring George Floyd
Knitted Harriet Tubman $20 bill featuring George Floyd

Techniques used:

The $20 bill was knitted on a domestic Passap E6000 knitting machine. The technique used was four colour jacquard. The design was created with Designaknit software.

Other artworks by me that honour George Floyd

20 – I can’t breathe
8 Minutes 46 Seconds

 

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