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