The Jalakanyaka mermaid can be found sunbathing at Shankumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram in the state of Kerala. Famous artist Kanayi Kunhiraman created the sculpture in concrete. It is 87’ (26m) long and 25′ tall, and is the largest mermaid sculpture on Earth.
The Shankumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram is very close to the Trivandrum International Airport, and the Southern Air Command of the Indian Air Force. This proximity has lead to a controversy in the last few years after the Air Force and the state tourism department installed a military helicopter near the mermaid sculpture.
The contrast is quite jarring, and the helicopter in the background of photos of the mermaid tend to ruin the shots. The uproar from art lovers and others who appreciated the park without a chopper in it have resulted in news coverage like this and this, expressing the sentiment that placing a military machine in a park dedicated to nature preservation and next to something as sensual and aesthetic as a mermaid sculpture is very inappropriate and insensitive.
The theme or story for the sculpture, according to the artist: The pollution of the sea eventually drove the mermaid to leave the ocean and come ashore to live on land instead. However, upon reaching the land, she found the land equally polluted. So what we see in the sculpture is the melancholy mermaid sharing her sorrow with the sun.
There is a trend of mermaids battling pollution of the seas. Artists, mermaid performers and ocean preservation activists have embraced this trend for decades now.
You will find many more photos of this sculpture on the page dedicated to the mermaid in Thiruvananthapuram.
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