fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Tau Lewis
La Biennale di Venezia

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Tau Lewis

1993, Canada


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 25/09
    11 AM - 8 PM

    TUE - SUN
    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Tau Lewis transforms foraged textiles and artifacts through painstaking processes of sewing and quilting into imaginary talismans and magical beings who inhabit sci-fi worlds. Recalling the works of Gee’s Bend quilters, the textiles of Faith Ringgold, the assemblages of Betye Saar, and the dreamlike “shack” sculptures of Beverley Buchanan, Lewis creates subversive monuments, paying tribute to philosophies of material ingenuity as an act of agency across diasporic communities. Activating the ideological malleability of textiles and their historical association with feminised labour, Lewis also dissolves the space between artistic and political poles, especially between practices traditionally delineated as craft, ritual, or art. The artist positions textiles and handmaking at the centre of an exploration of identity, bodies, and nature. Her fantastical bodies grow as if from a handmade garden, protective vessels standing in opposition, as the artist has said, to the myth that there cannot be a nurturing and healing relationship between the Black body and the landscape. In Lewis’ new body of work, Divine Giants Tribunal (2021), she presents epically scaled masks, which are three metres tall. Hand-stitched from scrap fabrics, furs, and leathers, these monumental faces create a material lineage not only with Lewis’ own work, but also with mythical objects and symbology. Taking inspiration from Yoruba masks and the writings of Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, Lewis dramatises the otherworldly mythologies engrained in these mask forms.

Madeline Weisburg


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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte