You might not expect a fiber arts exhibition focused on mermaids to be described as subversive, but that's exactly how curator Cookie Washington summarizes the show, which opens this week at City Gallery. The legend of African merfolk began centuries ago on the western part of the continent, eventually fusing with European mermaid myths. African slaves brought their traditions and beliefs regarding water deities to the U.S., and African-based merfolk-related faiths still thrive, with artists revitalizing the traditions through their work. The exhibit includes works from African-American fiber artists like Edward Bostic, Arianne King Comer, Michael Cummings, Myra Brown Green, and Patricia Montgomery. An accompanying catalog will include poetry from Kurtis Lamkin, Akua Lezli Hope, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Marjory Heath Wentworth, and Will Moredock. "This exhibition is for mermaids to come out of the realm of Disney-ana cuteness," Washington says, "and for people to learn that in many African cultures, the worship of mermaids and water spirits pre-dates the worship of Jesus Christ by over 2,000 years. I want people to be amazed, amused, delighted by the glorious art in this show, but I also want them to learn something."