AI: Fabulous Fabelo

Robert Fabelo is an internationally renowned Cuban artist. He has a varied portfolio, but today we’re going to talk about his mermaids.

Fabelo has produced dozens of works depicting mermaids. Several images are included after the break. Somewhat NSFW.

Why are we looking at these? Well, first, because a recent de-lurker asked us to. Also, because I can’t find a consensus on their interpretation. What little I’ve found has been in rather stark disagreement with itself. So put your skeptic hats on and be critical thinking critics.

How can we interpret the mermaids of Robert Fabelo? Are they misogynist objectification? Feminist iconography? Socio-political commentary? The expression of an unusual fetish? A comment on his mother-in-law’s cooking?



Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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  1. I love his work but always thought he objectified women. Then I noticed that most of his earlier works are beautiful and young mermaids, and lately he’s been adding older mermaids (see icon here!).

    As for political commentary: no. None. He can’t. He’s on the inside in Cuban society and he just can’t say anything. Social commentary: maybe.

  2. It’s easy to see the mermaids as an objectification, as they’re all topless. However most of them are in non-sexualized positions and are deformed (in that they have tails).

    I wonder if there is a commentary running there, or if he just like boobies and fish tails.

    What I really want to know about is the series with the mermaids as food: the ones where they’re on plates with cutlery around them… and a rhinoceros.

  3. He def. likes the boobies – there’s not a flat chested mermaid in the bunch.

    I’ve wondered about the stuff they wear. It seems like the helmets don’t come off and the clothing is their skin.

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