In 1995, Charles Van Sandwyk was involved in a motorcar accident in Fiji. In the recovery ward of the Lautoka Hospital he had a wonderous dream about an island sanctuary populated by strange creatures. It was a very gentle and healing dream with a depth he had never before experienced. Immediately upon waking, he set to work sketching the visions while they were fresh in his mind's eye. This dream became "Sketches from the Dream Island of Birds".
Sketches from the Dream Island of Birds
Charles van Sandwyk was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1966. In 1977, he emigrated with his family to Vancouver, Canada, where he studied graphic design at the Capilano College art programme in North Vancouver. By the early 1980's, he was selling his drawings and watercolours in a style reminiscent of the old prints and paintings which hung in the family home. Upon graduating in 1986, the wanderlust of younger years sent him travelling to the South Pacific. He discovered the Fiji Islands, and fell in love with a remote island and its inhabitants. His first attempt at publishing has now evolved into a passionate, ongoing venture into the world of handmade and private press books and prints. His watercolours, etchings and books are collected across North America and in Europe. He divides his time equally between Vancouver and Fiji (leasing land from the neighbouring family and building for himself a simple home of grass thatch, in the traditional island style) and has settled into a pleasurable routine of winter seasons in Fiji filled with painting and writing, the results of which are brought back to Canada each summer and prepared for exhibition and publication each autumn.