This is a spread from a picture book titled, The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow
As a Chinese-Canadian immigrant, Jess X. Snow, whose home lies on the other side of the Pacific, a story about overcoming the fear of the ocean feels familiar to them. Only after overcoming their fear of the ocean, they were able to fly over to the other side to visit family in China, and ultimately return home.
Note from Jess X. Snow: I am honored that I was invited to illustrate the story of the Haenyeo and understand that it was only made possible due to the care and relationships that Tina Cho, the author, has built with the Haenyeo over time. For inspiration, I went out to see Endlings by Korean-American playwright, Celine Song at the American Repertory Theater, which featured three Haenyeo grandmothers and used beautiful set design and projections to bring their world to life. I watched several documentaries about the Haenyeo and worked with assistant Yuan Zheng to create a library of photographic references detailing the Haenyeo way of life for us to choose from.
Having done community mural work with many marginalized migrant, queer, and indigenous communities, I understand the nuance, care, and research it takes to represent a marginalized community and culture the way they want to and deserve to be seen.
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