His father was the acclaimed sculptor of birds, Robin Lewis, and he came from a family of artists, yet Dylan Lewis still failed fine art in his first year of studying.

So he took a career detour and become a taxidermist at the Rondevlei Nature Reserve, though he did pick up a few part-time painting classes along the way.

It was only after his father passed away in 1988 that he began to find his feet in sculpture. He says he found refuge and meaning in nature.

And now his works are in the collections of several members of the British royal family and of the late Nelson Mandela.

Here at home, his crowning glory has been the opening of the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Stellenbosch.

His stint as a taxidermist comes through in some of the imposing pieces. The human figures also have a raw natural appeal and with the mountain views as a backdrop have an almost otherworldly appearance.

The sculptures are exhibited across 7ha of land that includes a 4km walkway of pathways, streams and indigenous fynbos.

The Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden is in a private cul-de-sac in Paradyskloof — a 10-minute drive from Stellenbosch and less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Visits are by appointment only.

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