‘Haenyeo’ Puche’s work for Silvia Moreno Poom Madrid

JLPuche Team

In Contemporary Art, News Posted


How nice when an artist connects with the person who trusts in his work… That is why, when Silvia told me that she wanted a piece for Silvia Moreno Poom Madrid again, I felt welcomed again in her project, of which I am already a part because we also coincide in our vision of beauty in women.


Women are always at the center of the paintings I make for the Poom stores of Silvia Moreno’s Korean cosmetics. Because women represent beauty, but my interpretation goes much further. I see in women a being who seeks triumph, a strong involvement in society, and whose presence goes far beyond the purely aesthetic.

The ‘Haenyeo’, Jeju’s strong diving women

The ‘Haenyeo’, the female figure depicted in Poom Madrid’s painting, are the women divers of the South Korean island of Jeju, who play a very important role as the breadwinners of their family since 500 AD.


As time goes by, their role has become even more important, because they have a strong socio-political involvement in Jeju, with a high decision-making capacity.

In addition, they are an essential part in the preservation and ecology of their natural environment, in this case the sea. When they see a deficit in the marine fauna, and that they cannot collect everything they need to subsist, they cancel any possibility of fishing until the sea recovers its equilibrium.

On the other hand, they are also in charge of cleaning the seabed to preserve its purity and health. The ‘Haenyeo’ live and feel the sea so much from birth that they can dive up to ten meters deep and can spend up to three or four minutes underwater without breathing. An amazing capacity.


When Japan invaded, the ‘Haenyeo’ turned from divers into warriors. They were part of the army that defended their land, something that definitely captivated me.

The ‘Haenyeo’ inoconography


Silvia Moreno Poom Madrid’s ‘Haenyeo’ wears the typical clothing of these ‘women of the sea’. She is represented with her net on her back and the buoys they use, in pink and white, as formal elements of the painting, which I integrate to give volume and texture to the work.


And as headgear, she wears diving goggles and a white scarf as a tunic. Nowadays, neoprene suits cover and protect the head, but before that did not exist, so that scarf protected them from the many diseases that could befall them due to the large amount of time they spent at sea.

In the background we see a dragon, which represents the god of the ‘Haenyeo’, to whom they procure abundance in the sea, so that they can catch all they need; and protection, since they risk their lives daily, and to him they entrust their lives to preserve them while they seek sustenance in the sea.


The ‘Haenyeo’ are super long-lived, and even at more than ninety years old, they are still searching for shells in the sea. A true example of strength and determination.


Photographies of  Lorenzo Carneros


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