Man at His Best

Take A Closer Look At The Lionhearted Spirit Of The Haenyeo

Jose Jeuland's first photography exhibition in Singapore features these fearless women.

BY Derrick Tan | Oct 20, 2017 | Arts

Image by José Jeuland

From preparation to plating, it takes a considerable effort for a cook to develop a tasty dish. So how do we obtain the raw ingredients for the dish's foundation? Farmers and fishermen are the experts at that.

At Jeju island, off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula, a group of female divers descent into the dangerous waters to gather catch fresh seafood from the depths of the ocean. They are known as the Haenyeo. Without proper breathing equipment, the Haenyeo risk their lives and dive into waters up to twenty metres deep. Due to the dangerous nature of the profession, these women are constantly at the line between life and death. The Haenyeo were inscribed into UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in December 2016, and were celebrated as an invaluable gem of Jeju as the profession is slowly fading away with more women taking a deep dive into the corporate world.

Singapore-based French photographer, José Jeuland, recognised the contributions of the Haenyeo during his trip to Jeju and had the chance to lens this astounding women community. Also a professional X-photographer for Fujifilm Singapore, Jeuland recently announced the launch of his first-ever photography exhibition in Singapore. Titled HAENYEO SINGAPORE, the exhibition features a collection of fascinating stills of the Haenyeo, each telling a story of the hardships faced by these women.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so head down to this exhibition and feel the raw emotion of their endurance.

HAENYEO SINGAPORE is held at East Garden Foyer, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore from October 28 to November 23. Admission is free.