Tau Lewis at Cooper Cole, Toronto

By Kaya Joan

Triumphant Alliance of the Ubiquitous Blossoms of Incarnate Souls, Tau Lewis’s solo exhibition at Cooper Cole,​ is a portal into another universe. As stated in the exhibition text, the artist “​created the realm of the T.A.U.B.I.S. (pronounced /taʊ /beez) to explore desires for abundance, safety, deep roots, and justice.​” She does this through three room-sized textile sculptures representing ethereal beings, surrounded by blossoms, that occupy the gallery’s main space, basement, and storage unit.

Tau Lewis, Symphony, 2020, installation view

Just beyond the entrance,
the being ​Symphony​ floats,
emitting deity energy,
with long strands of fabric flowers blooming around and under them like roots grounded in the space,
adorned with a flowing garment that reflects the bounty of safety and care T.A.U.B.I.S. holds.
They embody tenderness through their soft oranges and browns,
a feeling that continues into the basement, where ​Delight​ sits in a corner,
beckoning approach with a flower strand around their finger,
acting as another conduit between worlds.

Tau Lewis, Delight, 2020, installation view

The Ovule​ in the storage unit is the final portal into the world of T.A.U.B.I.S,
with a massive tongue extended,
commanding the room.

T.A.U.B.I.S emanates throughout the gallery through long leather strips of folded fabric blossoms hanging from the ceiling and around the beings – functioning as navigational devices, collecting intel, directly responding to movement in the space. Their animation means T.A.U.B.I.S is not just an imagined place. It is a pedagogy, a language of love, a way to be in a relationship with place and self.

Tau Lewis, The Ovule, 2020, installation view

Just as we carry all the stories of our ancestors in our bodies, transforming those stories and projecting new ones into the future, Lewis shapes an abundant diversity of material into a universe rich in joy and well-being for her community and kin.

Her beings are an assemblage of organic shaped panels of hand-dyed, upcycled household fabrics
encoded with the protocol of T.A.U.B.I.S.,
carefully hand sewn,
as one stitches together

Tau Lewis: Triumphant Alliance of the Ubiquitous Blossoms of Incarnate Souls continues until November 28.
Cooper Cole Gallery: https://coopercolegallery.com/
The gallery is not accessible.

Kaya Joan is an Afro-Indigenous multidisciplinary artist born and raised in T’karonto, Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory.