A sculpted indigenous garden featuring more than 60 works by Dylan Lewis.

‘Shapeshifting’, an essay by Laura Twiggs

‘Where does animalkind end and humankind begin? What of the wild and the primitive within? In exploring these tantalising enigmas, Lewis searches wilderness, myth and ancient belief systems for inspiration, meaning and answers.’

'The Rising': Ian McCallum

One day your soul will call to you with a holy rage.
‘Rise up!’ it will say…

Stand up inside your own skin.
Unmask your unlived life…
feast on your animal heart.
Unfasten your fist…
let loose the medicine in your own hand.
Show me the lines…
I will show you the spoor of the ancestors.
Show me the creases…
I will show you the way to water.
Show me the folds…
I will show you the furrows for your healing.
‘Look!’ it will say…
the line of life has four paths –
one with a mirror, one with a mask,
one with a fist, one with a heart.

One day, your soul will call to you with a holy rage.

About the artist

Wild Symbols

Between 1993 and 2000 Lewis explored the cat form, focusing primarily on the large feline predators of Africa, namely the leopard, lion and cheetah.

 His large cat sculptures began as a direct and literal, visceral response to the wild animal within its natural environment. He was fascinated by the raw and totally intact instinct behind these feline physical expressions, seeing them as symbolic and archetypal bodily responses – the most extreme manifestations of intrinsic animal being.

Lewis never set out to realistically depict these animals for their own sake. Instead, the cat was chosen as a metaphor that was strong enough and mysterious enough to convey his deeper passion for wilderness areas: those untamed tracts of rugged landscape the large felines inhabit and where the sculptor feels most at home.

The cornerstone of Lewis’s artistic ethos has always involved long hours of drawing and sketching from life, in front of his living, breathing subject as he observes, smells and senses it. For him, the act of drawing is also a meditation of focused observation, and he constantly returns to it while sculpting, filling books with sketches, notes, and drawings.

The surfaces of Lewis’s cats very often take on the landscape’s textural qualities – instead of skin and animal fur, they are textured with elements of wilderness and also with the artist’s own handprints.

In time the composition of Lewis’s cat predators changed, becoming more dynamic and less constrained. There was a shift away from a formalised base, and later works were done in the round. Although Lewis now focuses mainly on human figures, the cat image is something to which he returns from time to time.

S482 Stalking Leopard Pair Bust a