Exhibition: “Haenyeo – Women of the Sea”

 

Haenyeo exhibition Stockholm

The exhibition “Haenyeo – Women of the Sea” is presented at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, part of Sweden’s National Museums of World Culture, an ASEMUS member, until 1 March 2020.

Haenyeo –” Women of the Sea” – are diving fisherwomen on the island of Jeju off the south coast of South Korea. They live in coexistence with the ocean, the waves and the storms. At great risk and without oxygen tanks, they dive for sea plants and sea animals.

The Haenyeo tradition is more than 1000 years old and originates from small opportunities to feed on the barren volcanic island of Jeju. Desirable marine products can be sold and provide a good income for the families. Haenyeo is traditionally the breadwinner of the family, while the men care for children and household. The culture has developed a unique organization based on a strong community and sustainable fishing. For generations, women have built their professional skills and professional pride. In 2016, the culture of Jeju Haenyeo was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In the exhibition, visitors can meet the women divers and find out about their lives and work. 34 powerful portraits done by photographer Hyung S. Kim, who has followed the Haenyeo on the island of Jeju for several years, are on display at both the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities and outdoors. Kim became fascinated by the strength of the Haenyeo women and their beautiful, furrowed faces.

The exhibition presents various objects from the culture, which have been donated by relatives of the Haenyeo women. In the documentary film, “Breathing underwater (2015)”, visitors can hear the women themselves describe their work and lives.

Some of the travelogues, photographs and motion pictures done by Swedish zoologist and explorer Sten Bergman during his visit to Korea in the 1930s are also presented.

The exhibition is produced by initiator Min Jeong Ko and Maritime Museum & Aquarium in Gothenburg.

For additional information about the exhibition, please visit http://www.varldskulturmuseerna.se/en/ostasiatiskamuseet/exhibitions/current-exhibition/haenyo-women-of-the-sea/

 

 

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