Untamed in the garden

An exhibition at Kirstenbosch bringing together sculpture, poetry and architecture, delves into the wild side of the human psyche.

Dylan Lewis has chosen one of the most beautiful settings in the country, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, for his latest exhibition. He has also collaborated with two other masters in their fields. The result is Untamed, a thought-provoking showcase of sculpture, poetry and architecture that explores the lost balance between humankind and nature.

Inspired by the wilderness Lewis, best known for capturing the animal form in bronze, has recently started sculpting the human form. He approached author, poet and specialist wilderness guide Ian McCallum to write the prose and poetry to complement the sculptures. The third member of the trio is architect Enrico Daffonchio, who designed the pavilion for the exhibition.

Lewis’s sculptures represent traces of the mythical with half-man, half-beast forms. Through his work, Lewis interrogates the psychological consequences that the wilderness has on the human psyche. With Untamed Lewis wants to draw attention to the physical disappearance of the wilderness and what that means to humans on a spiritual level. McCallum further contends that we need to develop a language that will help us speak on behalf of nature so that we’ll never forget where we came from, and always give back to that place, the wilderness.

Untamed is an evolving exhibition that will be at Kirstenbosch for a year. In the pavilion, visitors can follow a marked garden trail along which they’ll encounter strategically placed monumental bronzes interspersed with McCullum’s words.

The pavilion also features a very impressive “living wall” of indigenous plants. It’s a vertical garden system with plants growing in recycled plastic cooldrink bottles, highlighting the importance of recycling and the possibilities of gardening innovation.