Photographer Sally Mayman and painter Dale Kentwell are introducing Australia’s Dampier Peninsula to new audiences at Berkelouw Books Mona Vale this September.
For their new book, Seeing Saltwater Country, the pair collaborated with the people of the region in a series of portraits that depicts remote community life and celebrates the beauty of a place unlike any other. Sally Mayman said the communities they worked with were about as far from Sydney as it was possible to get, which made for many challenges.
‘Travel was logistically more difficult. We managed to get lost several times and to bog the car in crocodile-infested mangroves – but maybe that’s just our city take on it!’ said Mayman. ‘There were many rewards and what stands out are the friendships we made and stories we shared. To connect and work with community members, learn, understand, slow down and be part of country for a couple of weeks at a time was an amazing and soul-enriching experience.’
Dale Kentwell said creating her artworks for the book was like working on a jigsaw puzzle. ‘Each community member we worked with was in control of their own depiction. In this body of work, I listened, sketched portraits, researched the local flora and fauna, sketched different ecosystems, researched languages and took them back to the studio where a painting was born for each collaborator,’ said Kentwell. ’I love this country and am deeply affected by its continued destruction. I hope everyone, wherever they are, gets to listen to the stories from this beautiful part of the world.’
Sydneysiders can meet the Avalon-based authors when they introduce Seeing Saltwater Country at Berkelouw Books at 6.30 pm on Thursday 21 September. Tickets are on sale now.
Seeing Saltwater Country is available in all good bookstores and online. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated back to the Dampier Peninsula communities.