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Harriet Tubman: A Light Of Hope

Madonna realized that many people would want to see Harriet Tubman as a part of this mural project for Champions of Change, because she’s such an inspiration, especially for under-served and overlooked communities.


Madonna decided to make Tubman the primary focus in her piece. It only seemed right to have her portrait here, large and centrally focused, overlooking the Niagara region, which was the last stop to freedom on the Underground Railroad, as well as an area that meant hope and freedom for so many.


In the piece, Tubman wears red head scarf in stark contrast to the surrounding scene. Her face is framed by a blue and yellow stained glass brick pattern and halo, often seen in religious artworks, alluding to Tubman’s nickname “Moses.” To the left is a scene of silhouetted escapees being led by a younger Harriet Tubman figure through a silhouetted forest. The forest and the figures lead us to right of the portrait, where an exaggerated abstract scene displays the historic Suspension Bridge and Niagara Falls in the distance below.


Images of Tubman can help to inspire and remind people today that they can work against the odds and lean on their communities as a means to change their lives and to help others, just as she did when she worked with the Underground Railroad community.


It doesn’t have to be history — we can make things happen today and encourage our talented and impressionably youth, showing them that they have a chance to become whatever they wish to be.


Positive things have been happening in Niagara Falls. There are numerous community initiatives and resources available. This mural will be a symbol of all that is being done to bring more attention and hope to this community.

  • Artist

    Madonna Pannell

  • Tags

    Abolition History, African-American History, Art by Women, Black History, Harriet Tubman, Underground Railroad, Women's History

About the Artist

Madonna Pannell

Madonna Pannell is an artist who was born and raised in Niagara Falls. In 2018 she received her B.F.A in Studio Arts with a minor in Art History at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an A.S. in Business Administration at Niagara County Community College. Madonna completed a mural in Niagara Falls’ Art Alley in 2016 and when she isn’t creating artistic works, she works full time as an accountant.

Madonna’s Definition of Freedom

“Freedom to me means being myself without fear, judgment, or restriction. It’s a feeling of letting go and leaving my cage. Yet, a feeling of finding home, knowledge, and self-acceptance. When you are home, when you have knowledge, and when you accept yourself, no one can take that away from you. You create and own your narrative. And that narrative can be a perfect illustration of freedom.”

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