Reclining Mermaid is a monumental site-specific billboard by Elliot & Erick Jiménez, first generation Cuban American twin photo duo. The work is a portrait of Yemaya, the deity syncretized with our Lady of Regla in Cuba, and ruler of the seas — her shimmering dress resembling the refraction of the ocean’s surface. The figure is mostly obscured with the exception of her eyes; a customary feature within Elliot & Erick’s artwork, the eyes remaining present in the image serves as posterity to the history of Cuba’s colonialism and blending of Spanish and West African traditions.
Reclining Mermaid is part of “Southern Histories”, a series of large-scale works at culturally significant sites to commemorate under-recognized historical narratives connected to Miami’s roots in the American South, Latin America, and the Caribbean. This public work underscores the history of migration from the Caribbean and Latin America to Miami, and the myriad ways in which these cultures transformed the city’s urban fabric over the decades.
Produced in collaboration with Spinello Projects and commissioned by Fringe Projects with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.