Search for the truth

Mermaids – underwater creatures that are half fish and half human – do not exist except in people’s imaginations. Scientistshave investigated their possible existence and no evidence as yet has been found.

But just because mermaids are not real does not mean they are not meaningful. Mermaids, or merfolk as they are sometimes called because not all of them are female, have a long history and are known all over the world – the same way dragons, fairies and unicorns are.

 

Some of the earliest are from over 3,000 years ago. The Greeks imagined lots of creatures that were part human and part animal, like harpies (bird and human) and centaurs (horse and human).

Sometimes their mermaids were good, like the Greek goddess Atargatis, who protected humans, but others were dangerous, like the Sirens, who sang beautiful songs that made sailors crash their ships into rocks and sink. Irish mermaids, called “merrows,” which date back 1,000 years, were also considered a sign of bad luck.

Mermaid bodies have been imagined differently in different places. There’s a legendary Japanese mermaid called a “ningyo,” which is mostly a fish, but has a human face.

Stories about mermaids also varied depending on where and when they were told. Only some are about mermaids falling in love and wanting to be human, like Ariel and Ponyo.

In a lot of places, mermaids were used as symbols of power and wealth. For example, the city of Warsaw in Poland has a legend of a mermaid who is considered to be the protector of the city. There’s a huge statue of her there, and she is even featured on the city’s coat of arms. Many castles in Europe also have mermaid symbols to demonstrate royal power and wealth – even in countries with no oceans, like Austria.

 

You may wonder how mermaids came to be. Why did so many people around the world imagine them throughout history? It’s an interesting question that probably has more than one answer.

Superstitious sailors, like Christopher Columbus and others, reported seeing mermaids on their travels, but scientists and historians think they probably saw real animals, like manatees or seals.

Whatever the reasons, people still clearly love mermaids. You can buy mermaid dolls, books and costumes. You can find them on flags, coins and Starbucks coffee. At some aquariums and water parks, real people perform as mermaids and have to practice holding their breath and keeping their eyes open underwater for a long time.

Even though mermaids are not really real, they can feed your imagination and creativity. Mermaids are also important because they are a shared idea that has linked people together around the world for a very long time.

£850.00

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New painting – exploring the mythology surrounding mermaids and sea nymphs.
“Search for the Truth”
Acrylic paint and gel on box canvas
60cm x 90cm
24” x 36”