Our assignment was to see if people were following COVID-19 protocols on Maracas Bay and it was a long-haired beauty without a face mask that caught our attention.
Getting closer to the motionless figure it was clear that this was no Good Friday ‘bobolee’ but rather a work of art.
From her black curly locks to her long tail fin, she leaned against a tree stump with her back to the water as if she’s been surveying the sands forever.
And if ever there is an example of the saying ‘art is subjective’ then it was her.
“I think it’s a bit spooky, sorry I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that, but it is spooky,” Lilly, a beachgoer said to a Guardian Media news team.
And therein lies the subjectivity, because what is ‘spooky’ for her was, “Really cool! My daughter said mummy look a mermaid!” said Karise Henry.
But who put our mysterious mermaid there? What does her sombre face mean? And on one of the holiest days in the Roman Catholic religion, what is this mythical creature, which is often depicted as agents of destruction, trying to tell us.
Guardian Media’s search took us first to one of the lifeguard booths, they are usually au courant with the goings on at the beach, after all it is their office.
“Who put the mermaid there?” I asked pondering if such a question ever came up in journalism school.
A wry smile and an ambiguous answer followed.
“An old head, but he’s not around now, come back tomorrow.”
I was off tomorrow, so the search continued.
“Ey Akash, you want a drink?” I did not, but I did want answers. And from the group of spirituous liquor consumers I got my big break.
“Ask them fellas who does run the chair rentals, they put it up.”
Eureka. I approached two middle aged men under a white tent. Stacked beach cheers their backdrop.
“Did you all put up the mermaid?”
One said no, the other, yes.
That man is Nyron Marcano. Marcano said he was sitting with a man about three weeks ago and they were looking at a tree log with the top half missing when inspiration struck.
“And he decide I will do a mermaid because it close to the beach so we came together and went to a next guy from the village who did the welding job, plus a girl to do the hair, a next guy to do the fibre glass and painting and I put it up.”
Marcano said this was an initiative by villagers in Maracas.
So how long will it be on display?
“As long as nobody interfere with it.”
And he’s hoping people look and don’t touch.
“Well, when I come out this morning, I saw a lot of people taking pictures and I thinking, this thing could go really viral. Everybody saying this looking real nice and wonderful.”
Interestingly enough Trinidadian-born British writer Monique Roffey won the Costa Award for her book The Mermaid of the Black Conch—a Love Story—a love story between a fisherman and a mermaid based on legend shared by the indigenous people of the Caribbean.
It would have been quite an inspiration for the artwork but according to Marcano this was not the case.
“The artist does do Carnival costumes and thing and he’s creative and he said this is it, a mermaid.”
The ‘artist’ was not in the village yesterday nor did they have a number for him.
Marcano said it is still a work in progress and our mysterious mermaid does not have a name just yet.
Although a YouTube link showing the statue being erected on Thursday night called her Amera, the Maracas Bay Mermaid.
So, some may call her spooky, others may think she’s interesting, she might be both. See for yourself.