This Artist Isn't Waiting For The Official Harriet Tubman $20 Bill
Dano Wall has created a stamp that places Tubman's portrait over Andrew Jackson's, and it's quickly sold out.
Photo via Etsy.
Waiting for the Trump administration to honor the achievements of women of color can feel a bit like waiting for Godot; thus, it wasn't exactly shocking to hear last week, that Trump's Treasury Department had delayed an Obama-era plan to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
Luckily for fans of, uh, abolition, one artist has taken the endeavor into his own hands. Dano Wall, an artist who's been working with 3D printers since 2012, has created a stamp that allows users to superimpose Tubman's face over Jackson's.
Wall's Harriet Tubman stamp was previously available on Etsy for the reasonable price of $20, but it's quickly sold out since the delay announcement by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. "I immediately sold out of everything I had in stock and have subsequently received over 2,000 messages from people asking when more stamps will be available," Wall wrote on Facebook, adding that he's "increasing production to meet demand." That's my rough, never-took-econ understanding of how the financial system works, baby!
Sure, a Harriet Tubman stamp could potentially fall into the category of Nancy Pelosi #clapback merch or RBG prayer candles—that is, girlboss-ified, glittery swag signifying nothing that can, too often, take the place of direct feminist activism—but the bill itself would be a direct endorsement of a black female abolitionist's legacy from the highest seat of financial power in the land.
In the shocking absence of the Trump administration's readiness to recognize Tubman, it's heartening to see an artist rush in to fill the void, and even more heartening to see the demand that's surrounded the stamp's release in the wake of the Treasury Department's announcement.
Wall's stamp is an always-prescient reminder that art has the power to call out government inaction and influence social change, from Nan Goldin's intimate portraits of AIDS patients to, more recently, French artist JR's giant cutout of a toddler overlooking a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. In the absence of official recognition of Tubman's legacy from the U.S. government, for now, art will have to suffice.