Studio Visit with Dylan Lewis

Artist Dylan Lewis, one of the world’s leading contemporary sculptors, shows us around his studio and the incredible sculpture park he has created in the shadow of the Stellenbosch mountains in South Africa.

"My starting point is always nature," explains Dylan Lewis, the Johannesburg-born sculptor whose studio is cradled by the Stellenbosch mountains. Lewis bought around seven hectares of land with views that stretch almost to the sea and over the past 10 years has remodelled the landscape by damming streams, creating hillocks and using Japanese techniques to pattern the planting.

At first glance the garden looks completely natural, but there are stepping stones in a stream and, nearby, a sort of open-ended auditorium. In the distance, against the blue and green mountains, there are huge, striking bronzes. In this beautiful garden, Lewis has also built a stone house that looks like something from Umbria. It is here that he works on the plans and drawings that precede every work.

On trips as a boy to the Kruger Park with his father, Robin, also a sculptor, he became fascinated with wild animals; and he has acquired something of his father’s meticulous study of the natural world.

"All my sculpture in one way or the other has been inspired by the natural wild places of Southern Africa, from my early bird forms to my current shamanic human figures," Lewis says. "Humans have largely tamed the wilderness, we’ve fenced out the wild lands, cut down the forests and exterminated the lions and tigers."

"I believe we have so rapidly disconnected ourselves from the wild natural places in which we evolved over millennia that we are struggling to make sense of that separation. We’re disturbed, we’re in transition. My sculpture is an attempt to find the image in the emotion exploring wild untamed aspects of the human psyche."

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