The Dinka People of Southern Sudan

Timeless Art Productions

Ronald C. Pietersma

Timeless Art ProductionsThe original concept for the Dinka book as well as the funding for the project came from American dairy farmer and publisher, Ronald C. Pietersma. In addition to being publisher of Timeless Art Productions, LLC, Ron is best known in the United States as Founder and CEO of Pietersma & Company, a brokerage firm specializing in the sale of dairy cattle, and as owner of Legend Dairy Farms, both based in southern California.
 
A third generation dairyman, Ron received his Bachelor of Science degree in International Agriculture, and then worked for several years as a photojournalist before embarking on his eventual careers.
 
If you combine his passion for cattle and publishing with his long-time appreciation of photography and tribal art, the development of this book might have been predicted. After admiring the works of Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher for many years, Ron was able to meet them through an introduction by Patricia House. He then decided to be more involved in their pursuit to document the customs and ways of life of traditional people.
 
As a young man, Ron had been impressed and fascinated by the Dinka after learning of their symbiotic relationship with their cattle but knew that their pastoral way of life was threatened and their unique relationship with cattle that was rapidly disappearing needed to be documented.
 
Learning that Carol and Angela had traveled and worked among the Dinka over the past 30 years and had documented Dinka life, then and now, Ron requested to view their impressive collection of “signature” photographs. It was the desire to share these incredible images with others and by doing so support the completion of Carol and Angela’s African Ceremonies project that was the genesis of this book.

“As the sun set, the only sounds were those of the cattle milling about, raising dust as they ambled back to their tethering posts to spend the night. In the evening light, the herders waited, standing in a restful one-legged pose, spear in hand. The air was filled with the sound of the large gong-shaped cowbells, each one handcrafted and distinct from the others, its resonance instantly recognizable by both herder and ox. The scene was dream-like and otherworldly, the curtain of smoke and dust so intense that it was often impossible to focus our cameras. The setting sun cast a rosy glow over the white backs of the cattle as we moved among them, trying to capture this vision on film.”