SeaWomen presents a new body of work by Mikhail Karikis focusing on a community of female sea workers living on the N.Pacific island of Jeju - a volcanic rock between S.Korea, Japan and China. Operating outside the currents of modernisation, this old and fast vanishing community consists of 50-90 y/o women who dive to great depths with no oxygen supply to catch sea-food and find pearls. Karikis’s immersive installation depicts the vocal practices of the women, including the unique sounds of their ancient and transgenerationally-transmitted breathing technique, their work-songs resonating in their camps, the noises of their democratic decision-making and of other communal activities. The project witnesses the women’s insistence on sustainable practices operating outside the trend of industrialization; it observes their reversal of traditional gender-roles, their deep sense of community and egalitarianism, their collective economics, and sense of professional identity and purpose in later age.

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Mikhail Karikis is a Greek/British and London-based artist. He studied at Slade School (London) and his work has been shown at the Danish Pavilion 54th Venice Biennale, MANIFESTA 9 (Belgium), the Barbican, the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale (Greece), Tate Britain, Coreana Museum (Seoul), Galeria Eduardo Fernandes (Sao Paulo) and elsewhere.

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This project has been funded by Arts Council England

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Special thanks to: Hyun DongHak, Dr Anne Hilty, Ahn HyekYoung, Dr Chah HyekYoung, Ahn SungHee and the haenyeo community on Jeju island (S.Korea).

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