Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sea Women

American-Korean photographer Brenda Paik Sunoo took top honors from the International Museum of Women in their contest for a call for visual media that told the story of women and their lives from all over the world. The Museum says:
The women divers of Jeju Island (known as haenyeo) are unique and rare workers. For centuries, they have harvested seaweed and shellfish at depths of 20 meters, holding their breath for as long as two minutes without any equipment other than their rubber suits, masks and nets.

The Korean women divers of Jeju Island have faced the tempestuous tides of history and struggle for economic survival. Their intimate relationship to the land and sea, their shaman beliefs, and their communal village life have kept them protected from modern pressures. In return, many of the haenyeo live a life of purpose and resilience well into their 90s. They illuminate a steady, fearless course and most of all, an enduring legacy.

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