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Photograph of Patch’s mermaid tattoo

My beautiful, creative and talented friend, Patch (do check out her artwork here), recently shared a photograph of her mermaid tattoo on her thigh (pictured above) with me. What I found particularly striking about this image, was the uncanny resemblance it bore to Youki Desnos’ mermaid tattoo (pictured below), which is similarly positioned on her thigh.

Youki Desnos showing her mermaid tattoo (Robert Doisneau, Paris c.1950)

This chance encounter between the two mermaid tattoos really resonated with Patch, prompting her response to the image: ‘I love that shot, [Youki’s] confidence and the fact [the men] look impressed rather than letchy’. Indeed, both women can be seen controlling the gaze in their respective photographs and embracing their femininity through the siren figure.

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Mélusine (one of the pictures from the series Les sept épées hors du fourreau in homage to Apollinaire) painted in 1957 oil on canvas, 150 x 50 cm, Private Collection) Toyen
Film Masks of the City

‘Masks of the City’ Collective Film by La Sirena

Film Masks of the City

The Making of ‘Masks of the City’

Doug – Edinburgh:

Taya – London:

Darren – Paris:

Daina – Chicago:

Article Enquiry

‘La Sirena Surrealist Group’

An article by La Sirena featuring in IMAGINE Vol. 2 (May 11, 2022).

Article Enquiry Poem

‘How Much Longer?’ by La Sirena

Poem and collages by La Sirena featuring in the fifth issue of Surrealerpool’s magazine, ’Patastrophe! (27 May 2022).

How Much Longer?

The torn map reveals the ghosts of the city 

Dreams of protesting with the Russian pacifists

Pleased with war’s dreadful and tumultuous roar

The locomotive has taken them nowhere 

Roll the dice and take your turn

The sunflower smiles through the blood of the rubble to greet the new day

He who cannot play chess only uses brutality

Butterfly children slaughtered by noblemen in the city 

Sugar the petrol, sell your guns and hide

The children roar in wild tears until they cry themselves to sleep

Ghosts should rise up to drag the warmonger to hell!

The desert queen serves the mad king 

The mad king is distended

Avenging strife embitters human life

What is invisible will light up the sky in incandescent colours

The doll child hides in East Budleigh 

Ivan Bilibin and Pushkin should curse the mad king to hell

A chorus of war cries from behind keyboards far from harm

The alchemy of dreaming heals the broken hearts 

Screams and curses across myriad media apps

Karkhiv can never sleep, can only dream of peace, can only endure in the hearts and minds of those who will carry hope to the highest mountains for all to see

A half-hearted re-enactment of old mistakes, but with real deaths

Extra points for the grim reaper for taking the mad king

Workers and refugees captured and tortured in a celluloid prison 

The young woman took her revolver to bed and was prepared to use it

Inferno awaits the mad king

The boys in the field are bored, or afraid or just excited by the game

My son is missing an eye and my mother’s wing has been ripped 

Dante should pull him down there

Inevitable as a pub brawl at closing time, last orders called

The imaginary letter, Z, doesn’t exist in Russian. Neither should the mad king

The inferno takes them all to his heart until they march to the beat of the war drums, the death drums, the holocaust drums

No one is leaving until we find out who really started it

Every embrace is a sign of hope, of defiance

Where are the angels now? 

The wind blows the shards of the silent mirrors across their broken faces and captures their death throes for all to see

A world left blind and toothless by the law of revenge

We suffocated on steam that turned into locks of human hair 

The mad king of antiquity belongs in the past, not now

We run and burn and fall and run over and over again

And midnight trembled to see such terrors 

The fighting leaves old men deformed in the streets 

May Baba Yaga escort the mad king to hell

A stain upon another generation, damned to repeat the whims of their rabid masters

All of this just to reset the board for the next time

Blood stained the monochrome city of ashes

We, the invisible demand to be heard even if we cannot be seen

May the liar choke on his lies

She hung up the remnants of shame like a ventriloquist’s flag for all to see

Criminals jostle to steal the clothes and words of the famous dead

The mad king is fragile, just like a chess king. And like a chess king, I want to throw him to the ground

The war is fought by actors and actresses, not by women and children

Who pays the price?

We bleed


How much longer?

Collective poem by Doug Campbell, Taya King, Daina Kopp and Darren Thomas

Enquiry La Sirena

Images of La Sirena

Dream of mermaids. 1963. Folding Triptych 3 Panel. Carved wood, metal hinges and oil on canvas mounted on wood panels. Leonora Carrington.
Enquiry La Sirena

Images of La Sirena

Darren and I recently took a trip to Battlesbridge – an historic village in Essex that is famous for its Victorian mill, which has since been converted into an antiques centre. The former mill houses many antique collectibles, as well an extensive selection of craft materials that are perfect for collaging. Among them, we discovered the below siren statue.

Our global network of researchers at are dedicated to finding sirens all over the world. Can you help them in their mission to uncover the secrets of the sirens?

Enquiry La Sirena

Images of La Sirena

Our dear friend and regular contributor to the blog, John Richardson, recently went siren spotting in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and kindly shared this report with us: “Wandering through Stamford we spotted this…..We liked the image and the play on words which it suggested to us…”. The results of this fruitful excursion are displayed below.

As always, we urge siren spotters everywhere to continue sharing their research findings with us at

Exhibition Game

Exquisite Corpse for the International Exhibition of Surrealism Part One: Cairo 2022 Poetic and Critical Anthology

The below exquisite corpse features on the front cover of the International Exhibition of Surrealism Part One: Cairo 2022 Poetic and Critical Anthology, which was collectively produced by the members of La Sirena Surrealist Group.

(Digital Collage by La Sirena Surrealist Group)

Taya: The international spirit of the Surrealist Exhibition in Cairo is reflected here in the hybrid union of the creature’s three culturally distinct heads, including (from left to right) that of a Moai statue from Easter Island, an ancient Greek sculpture from the Classical period and an ancient Egyptian mummy from the host country, all of which were sourced from Harter’s Picture Archive for Collage and Illustration.

(Hand cut collage by Taya King)

Darren: I sourced the torso from an old favourite of mine – Heck’s Pictorial Archive of Nature and Science, from the section on anatomical bodies. I was struck by the positioning of the arms, which I read as a welcoming gesture and immediately brought back fond memories of how I felt when I was in Cairo amongst my surrealist comrades, who embraced La Sirena with open arms. I cannot think of a more fitting gesture to grace the cover of the anthology for the International Exhibition of Surrealism, with its emphasis on internationalism, open to all. 

(Hand cut collage by Darren Thomas)

The butterfly wings were taken from another of my favourite books: The Observer Book of Butterflies. I am constantly drawn to butterflies because of their association with flight, freedom, transformation, rebirth and hope, and, again, these associations were wedded to my experiences of flying to Cairo and being part of the exhibition, which was truly transformative.

Daina: I’ve always been fond of bestiaries and fantastical creatures like those imagined by Hieronymus Bosch (1450 – 1516), Peter Bruegel the Elder (1525? – 1569) and J J Grandville (1803 – 1847). I love medieval bestiaries and pull a lot of inspiration for my work from such books.

(Digital collage by Daina Kopp)

The hips came from an image of, Pan, the Greek god of Shepards and the mountain wilds. The tail came from an engraving, DRAGON, 1640. Draco Aethiopicus. Woodcut from Ulisse Aldrovandi’s ‘Serpentum et Draconium Historiae’, Bologna, Italy, 1640.

I can’t recall where the image of Pan came from exactly. It might have been from the book Treasury of Fantastical and Mythological Creatures: 1087 Renderings from Historical Sources by Richard Huber.

Doug: For the legs, I used a reversed stock image of a knight in full body armour.

(Digital collage by Doug Campbell)

This turns out to be a 16th century wood engraving by Vecellio Cesare, a cousin of Titian! The metal ‘scales’ on the legs made me think of birds and reptiles, so I found textbook engravings of chicken feet and added them on.