Historically, these mysterious creatures “have been subjects of art and literature.” In Haitian culture, mermaids are known as La Sirene and are also subjects in the work of artists and craftsmen.
The mermaid chair pictured above was carved by contemporary Haitian-American furniture-maker, Mecene Jacques. It was included in the traveling exhibition America’s Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years in 1996 and in Buried Treasures: Art of African American Museums at the DuSable Museum of African American History in 2013. The chair is part of the Anacostia Community Museum permanent collection and was first exhibited in Black Mosaic: Community, Race, and Ethnicity among Black Immigrants in Washington, DC.
|Mecene Jacques working in his studio (top) and the unfinished
mermaid chair (bottom). Anacostia Communit Museum Archives, Black
Mosaic exhibition records,Smithsonian Institution. Photographs by
Anacostia Community Museum Archives