Haenyeo: Women of the Sea

Ahoy closure

Bringing the kids? As we build our exciting new Exploration Wing, the Ahoy! children’s gallery may close at short notice daily, before shutting from 18 April to 27 June. Our popular kids' attraction the Great Map remains open throughout, and there's lots for kids to see and do at Cutty Sark

Essential information

Event type: 
Date and time: 
5 March–1 April 2017 | 10am–5pm
National Maritime Museum, Ground floor, Lecture Theatre, First floor, The Great Map

Explore the fascinating lives of the female divers of Jeju in South Korea.

The story of haenyeo, the female divers and their community in South Korea is told from two different perspectives, through life-size photographic portraits taken by Hyung S. Kim and SeaWomen, a video and sound installation by Mikhail Karikis.

Both parts of the exhibition celebrate the unique culture of haenyeo, who for centuries have harvested seafood from the ocean without any diving apparatus. The women dive for up to seven hours a day and range in age from 11 to over 60 years old.

Both artists’ work is an insight into the culture of the Jeju divers, who have contributed to the advancement of women’s status within their community, whilst promoting environmental sustainability with their eco-friendly fishing methods.

Haenyeo: Women of the Sea exhibition

The exhibition will open to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday 5 March at 3pm, the Great Map, NMM.

Breathing Underwater documentary

Visitors can also view the documentary film about haenyeo on Tuesday 7 March, at 5.30pm in the Lecture Theatre, NMM, followed by a discussion with the artist.

Banner image: Yun Chunkum, Hamo Jeju 2014 and Kim Julja, Dodu Jeju 2013 (detail) © Hyung S. Kim 2013