Tau Lewis: Symphony
Tau Lewis’ solo exhibition ‘Symphony’ is presented as part of the National Gallery of Canada’s Contemporary Projects series. ‘Symphony’ is the first work by Lewis to become part of the national collection, and is also the Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s inaugural presentation at the National Gallery of Canada.
Within ‘Symphony’, reclaimed clothing and fabrics have been repurposed into an expressive portrait of a “mutable being, devoid of gender, that can transmute into blossoms”. The sculpture is a remarkable example of Lewis’ aesthetic vision and material sensibilities. Her “soft portraits”, as she calls her figurative works, incorporate recycled, found garments and textiles sourced in places the artist has lived or visited, including her ancestral home in Jamaica.
All of Lewis’ sculptures, quilts and mixed-media installations involve complex hand processes such as sewing and stitching, carving and assemblage. Physical involvement in the work’s creation is essential to Lewis, whose art is rooted in a commitment to healing personal, collective, and historical traumas through labour, especially in relation to histories and lived experiences across the African diaspora.
“I am interested in using what’s available to me, […] building portraits of the landscape that are also telling stories about Black identity.“ — Tau Lewis