Cactus Gallery LA
Greek Pagan Folktales: Η βεργόνα της Αττάλειας/ The Mermaid of Attaleia (Symi) by artist Anima ex Manus Art Dolls
Mixed media: wire armature, paperclay, polymer clay, vintage and found fabrics and trims, silk, silk threads. Her arms are poseable and her eyes are glass. Her body/ fish tail is soft and poseable, as it has wire running through it. The miniature ship on her head is also handmade by me. She is painted with soft pastels, acrylics and watercolors, and sealed with matte and gloss varnish. She has a loop on her back, to display on the wall.
Height: approx. 48 cm/ 18.9 inches (in straight position)
Vergona of Attaleia is a beautiful, long-haired woman whose bottom half has the form of a fish tail. She approaches passing ships and turns into a reef to entrap them, while with her long hair she overturns them and feasts on their crews according to her appetite. One might usually see her, as well as other mermaids, on Saturdays around midnight.
When she comes across a ship, she grabs it by the prow and asks the crew: “Is King Alexander alive?”. The sailors must reply “He lives and reigns and conquers the world”. This reply pleases the mermaid, who turns into a beautiful woman, calming the winds and the waves, while playing the lyre and singing sweet melodies. When someone is singing a melody never heard before, people say that he must have heard it from a mermaid. If they don’t reply accordingly and reply that King Alexander is dead, she then is enraged; she hurls the ship high up in the air, breaks down in tears lamenting the king and from her sorrow a great storm is conjured, sinking the ship and killing the crew.