Spent the most delightful afternoon this week in a serene sculpture garden in the foothills of the Stellenbosch Mountains outside Cape Town. My visitor from the USA commented that she felt the same sense of reverence here that she had experienced while in the Cederberg foothills among the rock art.
Wilderness is where the prophets of old found healing, wholeness and holiness, including C.G Jung and Laurens van der Post, who said: ”If man loses contact with his instincts and nature – not just living with material possessions – his spirit diminishes. That’s why we visit the wilderness – because it’s our last authentic cathedral, where we can get in touch again with religious feelings of life and universe. Without it we lose our spiritual element.
Wilderness is the last temple left to us unaffected by hubris. It’s the closest we can get to the original blueprint of nature and creation.”
This magical location of scupltor Dylan Lewis is where he has been landscaping a sculpture garden around his old studio for the past seven years. Here the immensity of the encircling mountains provide an awe-inspiring amphitheatre in which to express his creativity. And where urban landscape and cultivated farmlands give way to a rugged wilderness where leopard still roam.
The garden covers approximately seven hectares and is traversed by four kilometres of paths. Upwards of thirty sculptures from various stages of his career are exquisitely placed throughout the garden and thoughtfully positioned benches allow for restful contemplation.
As Dylan says ”I have attempted to continue to express the deep-seated themes of my work in the garden including the notion of an ‘untamed wilderness’ within the psyche as well as the paradoxes, agonies and ecstasies of the human journey.
The creative process began many years back when I began to ‘sculpt’ an old tract of farmland into dynamic contours using heavy earthmoving equipment. Indigenous planting followed and certain areas of the garden are now almost fully established.”
There are two buildings also situated in the landscape including his old studio premises as well as a contemporary sculptural steel pavilion designed by Enrico Daffonchio that was on temporary display at Kirstenbosch in 2010/11, called Untamed.
Although it is not yet formally open, interested visitors can contact Lynn Ascham to arrange a visit.