Note: UK artist Mikhail Karikis created a video installation artwork on Jeju haenyeo called 'SeaWomen' that has been exhibited multiple times internationally. It was his stated purpose to give a global 'voice' to the haenyeo.
Mikhail Karikis, UK artist
"One thing that I was very interested in when I was surrounded by the haenyeo and their work was the degree of intuitive work and wildness, and this connection with nature and the elements, and their self-sufficiency. I felt that if there can be a community that can operate independently, to a certain degree, against the current trend of globalization, even though they're vanishing, there is a glimmer of hope that we can see a small model, a small example, of how that is possible.
Photo by Sung Eun Lee
"I hope for the haenyeo to find a way to achieve some kind of recognition and happiness within their community. I don't think it's for the state, or for me, or for anyone else to determine what's to become of the haenyeo community.
They are perfectly capable to lead their own future. We just need to create, and this is what I think I'm trying to create, the right kind of ground for people to receive that, to understand what the haenyeo might wish or the context of their wishes. And I think that sometimes in politics, positions are taken that are really removed from the actual reality on a particular profession or community.
So if we become sensitized to what their work is about, and what their community is about, then we might be more accepting of the decisions that they might want to take, that the haenyeo community might want to take for their community." Excerpted from "Triumph of Seawomen" by this author, published in Jeju Weekly on 3/26/ 2013.
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