The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco presents an extraordinary new exhibition, titled ‘The 165-metre Mermaid and Other Stories’ in its Villa Paloma venue. The exhibition stems from a mediaeval Japanese legend, first discovered by the artist, Shimabuku in 1998 on a visit to Fukuoka, Japan.

The exhibition tells the tale of Shimabuku’s adventures and encounters from that moment of discovery until the very present. The artist went on to travel the world, sharing and expanding on a tale which has long been unknown, all the while creating and inspiring art. The artworks on display vary greatly in both medium and style, but are ultimately united by the same unusual topic.

This illustration actually adorns a preserved chocolate egg, just one of many different artworks to be discovered at Villa Paloma

In 2018, the NMNM acquired an installation labelled ‘I’m travelling with 165-metre mermaid’ (1998 and ongoing). That installation forms the foundation of this exhibition, and is only enriched by the addition of artefacts produced in Monaco by different craftspeople, who had been invited to represent the legend through a work of their own.

In February 2021, the cardboard construction you can see above was created by Year 6 pupils of the Principality’s Saint-Charles school, who filled it with their own artwork based on the tale of the sizeable mermaid. The Maison Costa, the Monegasque patisserie, also contributed to the exhibition through the creation of a traditional fougasse in the shape of a mermaid and measuring in at 165cm, a 1:100 scale ratio.

The exhibition will begin on Friday, February 19 and will run until October 3, 2021. The venue, Villa Paloma, is open every day from 10:00 until 18:00. The cost of entrance is just six euros. However, entry is free for anyone under 26. To discover more about the 165-metre mermaid, Shimabuku and the NMNM, click here.

All images by Jack Brodie for