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Striding Fragment

This is one of a series of Fragments, the first of which dates back to 2000 and arose out of a series of drawings Lewis had done of a decapitated leopard carcass in 1996. At the time, the initially frozen and headless, fetally-shaped body reminded Lewis of a human in pain, its limbs curled inwards as if in a futile attempt at self protection. As it thawed, he was struck by the human quality of the feline's anatomy  and experienced the lifeless body as much as corpse as carcass. Where up until then Lewis had used the leopard as a symbol of strength, power and as a metaphor for wilderness, he now began to reconsider. The animal now begins to be seen as vulnerable, even poignant.

Devoid of their most distinctive animal attributes, namely the heads, tails and paws, the fragmented great cat forms are invested with a nascent human physical quality, particularly visible in those that are vertically positioned.
Today, the Fragments are considered powerful and unsettling statements about the destruction of natural habitats, but this was not consciously intended at the time. If the earlier healthy and functioning animal represents a well-balanced, sustainable environment, then these Fragments speak of the consequences of tipping this delicate balance. On another level, they function as psychic warnings of what happens to humans when we lose touch with the wild, instinctive aspects of our own natures. The idea of evoking presence through literal absence and the sense of power and timelessness conjured by the broken and fragmented form is of ongoing interest to Lewis.
   

Sasol Art Museum

Part of Stellenbosch University Museum, this is a 1907 Dutch neo-classical building that was once Bloemhof School. In 1991, a generous grant from oil company Sasol allowed the building to be restored and restructured, and it now houses 19th- and 20th century artworks and a collection of  prehistoric artefacts amongst other permanent exhibitions.