In our latest Spring issue of Stellenbosch Visio, we embarked on a journey that took us to the captivating Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, where sculptural masterpieces served as a backdrop to our Spring fashion pages.
But this visit was about much more than aesthetics; it was about celebrating the profound connection between art and the environment, and the ever-growing importance of sustainability in the world of creativity.
Stellenbosch Visio 2023 Spring issue’s fashion pages shot at the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. Photos: Jacques Weyers
Inspired by Nature
“The garden is inspired and influenced by nature … it’s very organic and similar to the Japanese style of gardening, where they took the principles of nature and distilled them into the garden’s essence,” says Dylan Lewis, renowned South African sculptor and founder and creator of the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden.
According to Dylan, the garden is an intuitive and loose interpretation of some of the distilled aspects of nature, and specifically relates to the surrounding Stellenbosch landscape.
“Many of the sculptures are on specific sightlines with the distant mountains, some of the shapes in the garden are echoed in the distant mountains,” says Dylan. “Sometimes it’s a contrasting form or shape where the mountains may be sharp and ragged, and the gardens soft and contour.”
Dylan Lewis speaks on the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden and its connection to the surrounding Stellenbosch landscape. Video: Karla de Bod
He adds that each element and approach of the garden uses the borrowed landscape or the backdrop of the mountains within its context — this is what creates a sustainable experience for visitors.
Sustainability within Experience
“[The theme of sustainability] is found within the context of the experience itself and the fact that it’s based on nature. Much of the sculptures are nature-based; the stories behind the sculptures have to do with our relationship with both art and our inner nature,” says Dylan.
While he says that the garden is not a platform for sustainability specifically, he hopes that the experience encourages visitors to become more aware of nature — both their own nature and the nature surrounding them.
The Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch. Photo: Supplied
Dylan does not have preconceived notions as to how people need to experience the garden, but enjoys knowing that everyone has a different perspective of the garden. In this sense, he sees the garden as being a mirror for each visitor.
Art as a Mirror
“For me as the artist, I’m making something that are in some ways deeply personal to me. But for the person looking or engaging with it, it’s a mirror,” says Dylan. “The experience says very little about me, and more about them. It’s a mirror of their own experience in the world.”
As we conclude our exploration of the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, we are left with a profound appreciation for the fusion of art and nature that this sanctuary represents. Dylan Lewis’s sculptures stand as testaments to the majesty of the natural world, where art, nature, and sustainability converge in perfect harmony.