Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is known globally as a classic tale where a young mermaid loses her voice, enduring immense pain to make the ultimate sacrifice for love.
Yet it’s not just in the fairy tale where mermaids work to regain their voice - they have long been significant symbols in helping people to speak out. From mermaid murals making a splash in the UK to artists tackling climate change, mermaid campaigns are making waves around the world.
Finding their voice to speak out about breastfeeding
In 2016, new mums in Inverclyde were the least likely in Scotland to choose to breastfeed their babies. Women in Inverclyde didn’t breastfeed for a variety of reasons, from anxiety about breastfeeding in public to generations of family members having previously not breastfed their children.
Alongside health professionals and the Inverclyde breastfeeding group, a huge mural of a breastfeeding mermaid was painted by the artist Smug to spark important conversations and demonstrate support for new parents.
The campaign has been successful in helping women across Inverclyde find their voice about breastfeeding, prompting 5% more mothers in the area to breastfeed in the last five years.
Mural by Sam Bates aka Smug.
Mermaid mural makes a splash in a post-covid world
Mermaid murals have also been making a splash in the Northern Ireland town of Larne. Visiting Belgian artist Iota produced a mermaid mural for the town, inspired by Larne’s very own Little Mermaid. According to the local myth, her name was Liban and she was caught in nets in Larne Lough.
The mural forms part of a campaign to revitalise town centres and increase their appeal to residents and visitors alike, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on town centres.
Mural by Iota.
Swim over to America and you’ll find mermaids on the frontline of tackling climate change. Artist Von Wong created their #MermaidsHatePlastic campaign to ignite a conversation about plastic pollution and encourage people to re-use wherever possible.
Mermaids represented the beauty of the ocean and were surrounded by 10,000 plastic bottles to demonstrate the threat of plastic pollution on our oceans. The campaign has been viewed over 200,000 times online with 16,000 people signing a #MermaidsHatePlastic pledge, committing to reducing the amount of plastic in their life.
Header image by Guy Farrow.