HAENYEO – THE SEA WOMEN OF JEJU ISLAND – TAASA Review December 2021
Daina Fletcher D uring 2021 the Australian National Maritime Museum partnered with the Korean Cultural Centre Australia to present a powerful exhibition that recasts a Korean female-centred cultural tradition through the lens of contemporary photographer Hyungsun Kim. In 2012 Kim, a Seoul-based artist who previously worked in commercial photography, visited Jeju Island off the southwestern coast of the Republic of South Korea.
Jeju’s dramatic volcanic coastlines, today a tourism magnet, had traditionally supported a strong seafaring culture. The earliest written reference to Haenyeo harvesting abalone is in 1629.
Women became the main breadwinners after many men left the island to go to sea, to fish or crew warships...