Night Gallery is thrilled to announce the participation of Tau Lewis in Black Atlantic, a Public Art Fund exhibition, now on view at Brooklyn Bridge Park through November 27, 2022. Lewis’ site-responsive commission is presented alongside new works by Leilah Babirye, Hugh Hayden, Dozie Kanu, and Kiyan Williams. Black Atlantic is co-curated by artist Hugh Hayden and Public Art Fund Adjunct Curator Daniel S. Palmer.
Displayed on the shores of this former shipping port, Black Atlantic is an exhibition inspired by the diaspora across the ocean that connects Africa with the Americas and Europe. Over the centuries, these transatlantic networks have led to complex hybrid cultures and identities like those of the five artists featured in Black Atlantic. Each commission suggests a unique creative approach towards crafting new identities and futures through the personal gestures of hand-made work, often in dialogue with the processes of large-scale fabrication. The artists have mined both global histories and personal experiences to create these compelling works, which are as inventive in form and materials as they are powerful in their themes.
Embedded into the landscape adjacent to Pier 2 and the Greenway, Tau Lewis’ commission comprises three six-foot-wide iron discs with detailed surfaces created through a process of sand-casting. Growing out of Lewis’ crinoid studies started in 2019, the intricate designs are inspired by these ancient sea animals. Still found in the Caribbean Sea today, crinoids or sea lilies and feather stars date back to about 300 million years before dinosaurs and physically resemble sea plants like coral with five-way symmetry similar to the starfish or sand dollar. Billions of fossil fragments can be found on shores of both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and no two star designs are exactly alike. Placed on the sloping lawn and protruding subtly from the ground towards the river and Atlantic, Lewis’ three cast disks will also incorporate figural elements as well as West African Adinkra symbols. As if they were fossilized and preserved in the Atlantic for millions of years, the grouping will ruminate on the wandering of the ancient sea animal, the scattering of their fossils, and their coexistence with Black bodies throughout the diaspora. Each disc will act as a visual poem or map, contemplating the ocean as an illimitable black geography, and recounting the stories ingrained in the crinoid.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Extending across Piers 1, 2, & 3
New York, NY