The Folkestone Mermaid was produced by Cornelia Parker in response to a commission for the Folkestone Triennial 2011.

It was conceived of both as a reinterpretation of one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, CopenhagenÂ’s 'Little Mermaid', and as a means of engaging both with FolkestoneÂ’s local community and with the reality of the female form. Inspired by the story of The Sea Lady by HG Wells (a long-time resident of Folkestone) and the famous fairy-tale of Hans Christian Anderson (who visited Folkestone in 1857), Parker developed the concept for the work in 2009 during the Copenhagen Climate Conference. The MermaidÂ’s watchful gaze over the horizon is also an allusion to the threat of rising sea levels and endangered populations living by the sea. The work takes the form of a life-size bronze cast of a local resident. Folkestone residents were invited to model for the Mermaid and through a process of open submission Parker shortlisted six potentials, with a stated aim not to find 'a lookalike of the idealised Copenhagen Mermaid, but ... a real person, a free spirit'. The successful candidate, whose likeness has now been installed overlooking the sandy beach at the end of The Stade, next to FolkestoneÂ’s harbour, was Georgina Baker, a local mother of two.


The artist.

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