Sea Phoenix 3 (2016) - Limited Edition 25

United Kingdom

Size: 23.2 H x 16.5 W x 0.1 in

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Artist Recognition

Featured in Invest in Art Featured in Invest in Art
Featured in One to Watch Featured in One to Watch
Featured in the Catalog Featured in the Catalog
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Art Description

Photography: Digital on Paper.

The haenyeo of Jeju Island are part of a tradition that has been passed down from mother to daughter for a 1000 years. They are the Korean mermaids, who venture into frigid depths of up to 20 meters without any breathing equipment, braving the dangers of the ocean, as they scour the seabed for food. These women are fascinating to me because the bedrock of their culture is to always leave something for tomorrow: they live sustainably. There’s an honesty to their way of life, a romance that I find humbling.

Today, most of the Haenyeo are into their later years, and their culture is threatened by rapid ecological and industrial change as well as a deteriorating ocean. I have tried to portray them as mythical sirens hanging weightless, deep in the ocean, on the threshold of becoming lost in the black water or rising to the surface to return to the real world. In this series I prefer to depict them as they once were: young and free.

This image is one of twelve from the series 'Flowers for Jeju: The Last Mermaids.' Each limited edition is signed and numbered by the artist and printed on archival, heavy weight, premium matt paper. It is then carefully packed and dispatched with the corresponding certificate that guarantees the print is a limited artwork only available at the editions stated. The certificate can be attached to the back of the print once framed.

Flowers for Jeju film

Birth by Janet Hong
Breath. Knife. Dive. Gum. Pill.
These the first words you lisped, as though the sea needed to mark you, make sure whose you were. Seventeen, you didn’t need the pills for the sickness that eventually grips us all, not yet. Not ever.
You were like an exquisite young fish, wetsuit gleaming like scales, the limits of your lungs untested. A child of the sea. Even to us old-timers, what you were was clear—destined.
I know now the dangers of using a word like “destined.” But then, we only saw how you moved your keen fingers along the jagged rifts, the flash of your sickle, your bright sumbisori whistle as you rose back up to this world.
Beware of bonanzas! An unusually large abalone, an exceptional harvest, can mean only one thing. That day, the same story with you. You collected so much seaweed your friends envied you.
We waited and waited. My entire life passed by on that rocky shore I had walked a thousand times, on the very shore where you, as a baby, had slept in a basket, waiting for the milk from my breasts, milk that tasted of the salty sea, while I shivered in the wind, my hair and cotton mulot dripping.
After the last diver came out and still no sign of you, we thrust our bodies back into the water. We scoured the seabed like ones crazed, finally staggering out into the darkness. The wind whipped us for our empty hands.
It was the next morning you returned to us, on the same waves that had fed and clothed and carried this aging daughter and so many before. Was it then, as you swam in my waters those nine months, that the sea claimed you as its own?
Your orange float nodded at your side, a mute witness to our awful grief, as we untangled the seaweed from your limbs. Who knew you would rise up despite the lead weights? Who knew to look for you on this side of the world?
The winter morning sun lit your motionless body, and you went up in flames, like some mystic bird, rising from the ashes.

Keywords: Black, Sea, Space, Underwater, Woman, Angel, Fairy, Fishing, Green, Mermaid, Nude, Ocean

Subjects: Water

Styles: Conceptual, Figurative, Fine Art, Photorealism, Realism

Mediums: Digital

Materials: Paper

Prints: Water Art Prints, Conceptual Art Prints, Figurative Art Prints, Fine Art Art Prints, Photorealism Art Prints, Realism Art Prints, Digital Art Prints, Paper Art Prints

Artist Recognition

Featured in Invest in Art Handpicked by Saatchi Art's Chief Curator for our most prestigious feature, Invest In Art
Featured in One to Watch Featured in Saatchi Art's curated series, One To Watch
Featured in the Catalog Featured in Saatchi Art's printed catalog, sent to thousands of art collectors
Artist featured in a collection Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection

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