Portfolio > Paintings

watercolour, gouache, mermaid, children's book
"The Truth about Mermaids" collated pages
Watercolour and Gouache
5" x 8"

"The Truth about Mermaids" is a children's story about a young ocean-obsessed girl who goes down to the shore one night and sees a mermaid. Upon trying to explain her experience to her parents, her peers, and her teachers, she is met with frustration that no one believes her. She is persistent, however, going so far as to "borrow" her fathers camera, and break curfew. Eventually, her parents decide that her behaviour has become too erratic and strange. They take her to see a therapist. The therapist is very kind, and before long, the girl finds herself opening up, and telling the therapist about the mermaid. The therapist grows very quiet, and very slowly goes to her desk to retrieve a worn envelope, and a folded piece of construction paper from within. On the paper is a drawing of the very same creature the young girl had seen. The therapist confides that her frustration that nobody would believe her is what led her to the field of psychology. The young girl agrees, and expresses he own feelings of confusion and frustration. In this way, the mermaid is an allegory for mental difference, specifically in children. Through the device of the mermaid, I explore the ways in which a neurodivergent child relates to the world, and the way the world relates to them. Often, the experience of the non-neurotypical child is invalidated, as it does not fall in step with the least-common-denominator education system. Furthermore, neurodivergent children do not get the representation in media that their neurotypical peers do. With this project, I hope to address the feelings of isolation neurodivergent children undergo, by validating their experiences, and showing them a positive reflection of themselves.