Tau Lewis’s mythical sculptures create elaborate portals into fantastic worlds.
“At 52 Walker, artist Tau Lewis transmutes the lifeblood of scrap objects into something sanctified. . . . I’m reminded that an art gallery can also be a temple.” —New York magazine
Following her acclaimed presentation Divine Giants Tribunal at the 2022 Venice Biennale, Lewis has continued to create—from salvaged textiles and other found materials—anthropomorphic forms inspired by those in Yoruban mask dramas, which are spiritually activated by the wearer and the audience and, by extension, their community. Likewise referencing the work of the Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, classical Greek and Roman mythology and drama, science fiction, and angelology, Lewis develops her characters’ identities and narratives in an intermediary world that implicates our ancestral pasts, spiritual and cultural similitudes, and multiplanar existences. Documenting and expanding on Lewis’s body of work shown at her 52 Walker exhibition Vox Populi, Vox Dei, this catalogue contextualizes the artist’s investigations and expressions.
Poetry by the multidisciplinary artist and activist Yves B. Golden complements Lewis’s otherworldly motifs. With a curator’s note by Ebony L. Haynes, this publication also features an essay by Tiana Reid that explores Lewis’s practice, drawing connections between sources that range from Joy James to Frederick Douglass.