Women of the Sea
Part I, II & III
The Ama of Japan
"In the small seaside village of Onjuku, Japan, the ‘Ama’ (Women of the Sea) would dive deep on a single breath to collect abalone and other ocean treasures in a tradition that had lasted for hundreds of years.
These were two of the last ‘Ama’ whose images as young, mermaid free divers capture a spirit of freedom and exuberance, like a breath of fresh air for young women today."
Project shot by Marina Alonso in collaboration with Billabong.
The Haenyo of Jeju Island, South Korea
"These are the most badass, joyful, empowered grandmothers I have ever met – supporting their families and communities in a tradition that has continued for thousands of years. And they are proud of their tradition, which is now protected under the UNESCO cultural heritage.
Diving with the Haenyo reminded me of that direct connection of what you put in your body and how all ecostystems need balance and time to replenish.
The diving itself was a beautiful experience – like a kind of meditation. Diving, gathering, surfacing – listening to the distinctive harmonious whistles and outbreaths of the Haenyo when they surfaced – a specialised form of breathing and communication developed over hundreds of years."
Thanks to Kim Jeen Eun and her 81 year old grandmother, Chun Ji- O.
Guided by my friends from the Sloth Club Japan, I’ve come here to meet Akiko Ishigaki – an 80 year old master weaver and dyer, priestess and environmental activist. Akiko is a woman of the sea. And she’s like a magical alchemist, fixing her natural dyed handwoven textiles in the brackish combination of the river and ocean – the life-giving mangroves . A bright smile and kind heart, her woven creations and innovations are highly prized all around the world – made famous by her work with designer Issey Miyake.