David Pope's magical 'South Coast is Calling' images now available

David Pope's beautiful South Coast is Calling images.
David Pope's beautiful South Coast is Calling images.

You've seen them, you've been enchanted by them, now you can own them.

The beautiful South Coast is Calling images by The Canberra Times cartoonist David Pope are now officially on sale, in the form of prints, posters, notebooks and greeting cards, with all profit to go to bushfire recovery, via the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal Public Fund.

All eight prints are available at redbubble.com/people/coastiscalling/shop.

The foundation will make grants to fire-affected communities through the sale of the products.

Cobargo as captured by David Pope.

Cobargo as captured by David Pope.

The images were commissioned by regional publisher Australian Community Media, publisher of The Canberra Times, as its response to the bushfires and to help promote tourism back to the South Coast.

Pope's efforts resulted in loving homages to Narooma, Nelligen, the Clyde, Cobargo, Lake Conjola, Batemans Bay, Murramarang and Mogo.

In the style of vintage travel posters, the images at once acknowledged the devastation, but also the recovery and resilience of communities and, not least, the charm and almost dream-like qualities of the South Coast which have enticed generations of the Canberrans to escape the everyday.

The Canberra Times' cartoonist David Pope.

The Canberra Times' cartoonist David Pope.

The response to the images was immediate.

When Pope shared the images via Twitter on March 5, his tweet was seen by an estimated half a million people. He was overwhelmed, saying the project started as an experiment.

"It's been very positive," Pope said, on Wednesday.

"The thing that sticks out are the number of people in other fire-affected communities who have said, 'can you come and draw something here, our place has been forgotten, it might attract some attention back'.

"From South Australia, Victoria and all the way up the coast of NSW.

"It's just a reminder of how widespread the emergency was.

"I'd like to do a few more."

Pope said it was difficult to believe the bushfires now seemed in the distant past when the coronavirus crisis was now gripping Australia.

But South Coast communities were still hurting and the recovery was still very much underway.

He hoped the images reminded people what they loved about the areas.

Stand tall in Mogo by David Pope.

Stand tall in Mogo by David Pope.

"It's really about people's connection to a place," he said.

Pope, who holidays south of Guerilla Bay, said the South Coast was a place for many to "reset at the end of a year" but that had not happened for so many people who were instead evacuated, kept away or simply remained hypervigilant throughout summer for the threat of fire.

He was just glad to be given the opportunity to make a contribution to the South Coast's recovery and to remind Canberrans that all they loved was still there.

"It was a privilege to be able to visit these places on work time and to draw them," he said.

"We were working on limited time but I wanted to do as good a job as I could."

This story Own one of David Pope's South Coast prints first appeared on The Canberra Times.