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Tayeba Begum Lipi

Bangladeshi Contemporary Artist
Born 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh
Lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Tayeba Begum Lipi is a visual artist who addresses issues relating to human life with her works. Through a creative range of media, Lipi explores feminist issues of marginality and representation of the female body, addressing societal contradictions, often questioning the sexual stereotypes that dominate women's lives around the world. She co-founded Britto Arts Trust, Bangladesh's first artist-run alternative arts platform.



Masters of Fine Arts (Drawing and Painting), Institute of Fine Art, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Tayeba shares Black and White photographs from her life events in her art projects

Lipi's solo project, A Room of My Own, inspired by the texts of Virginia Woolf, provides context for the artist's previous body of work, sharing the artist's silent journey over the years, fighting her own body and soul in the wish to conceive a child. Lipi takes chronological steps into the special times of her life, sharing black and white photos taken at the time. The work provides a deeper understanding to her practice as a sculptor and the richness of her life experience. It is a sensitive and heart-wrenching display of pictures from her personal life that share common sentiments with women all across the globe. The artist's message which comments on the paradoxes and dichotomies of being a woman and a mother comes out very strongly and keeps the viewer hooked with its strong visuals.

Tayeba Begum Lipi, A Room of my Own, 2014, for Dhaka Art Summit.

Her video installations project strong female characters

In her video installation called I Wed Myself, Tayeba simultaneously assumed role reversals of both the bride and groom of her wedding. First, as a bride she enacts her existence meticulously in full bridal attire on a wedding stage. Returning to the green room for a cropped haircut with the additional moustache, she changes and performs again as a groom. The three minute long video speaks very clearly of a feminine character, strong enough to assume dual roles in her life.Tayeba says "While gender suggests we are defined as a boy or a girl from the moment of birth, I prefer to perceive the newborn as a child . Despite my femininity as a woman, there also lie innate masculine characteristics within me."

Tayeba Begum Lipi, I wed myself, 2011, video, double channel projection. Running time: 3.02 minutes.

Tayeba uses autobiographical subjects from her childhood for installations

Tayeba's work crosses thresholds of painting, printmaking and installation, and is valued as some of the most exciting and innovative art currently in Bangladesh. Drawing on autobiographical subjects from childhood, Lipi uses the female image as a continuous reference point to address subtle relationships of pleasure, play and power in feminised objects such as dolls and fashion plates. Her work ' My Childhood (2003)' which is a large-scale painting depicts the face of a woman veiled by tiny dolls, affixed rhythmically to the canvas. There is a stark contrast between the diminutive, ordered, white-skinned dolls with the ambiguous expression of the painted face. This poses as a comment upon the perceived image of women in society to the sturdy women Tayeba characterises in her works.

Tayeba Begum Lipi, My Childhood, 2003, winner of the Grand Prize at the 11th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh.

Tayeba uses a range of media to address issues of human life

Through a creative range of media, Lipi explores feminist issues of marginality and representation of the female body, addressing societal contradictions; she often questions the sexual stereotypes that dominate women's lives around the world. Razor blades recurring in her recent work represent not only violence but also make reference to a tool used in baby deliveries in the more primitive parts of Bangladesh.

Tayeba answers questions like, "How do we represent the beauty of a woman? Is it a beautiful mind/body or does it rely on a beautiful body alone?" with her installation consisting of 3000 razor blades of stainless steel reshaped to that of a bra. A total of 30 pieces were made, suspended from bars in a metal shelf. In her works, the medium itself reflects on the thought behind the installations and leaves the viewer intrigued by the clarity of the message the artist has conveyed.

Tayeba Begum Lipi, Evening presentation for 'No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia'. Image courtesy: Asia Society.

Her works are inspired by the shifting terrain of contemporary Bangladeshi society

Tayeba seeks to question the notion of borders and their relation to the history of Indian partition and Bangladeshi identity through her art. 

Her work 'From 1.7 million mi² To 55,598 mi²' is a series of four circular panels framed in razor blades, suggesting the notions of separation and partition. The subcontinent's land mass of 1.7 million sq. miles, is dissected into maps of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The artist recalls that 'when I was a child, I used to hear about those happy days from my parents while the inhabitants from different beliefs and perspectives used to live together happily in one large land.' Lipi's four etched maps on polished stainless-steel plates create 'a scratched and wounded reflection of the subcontinent and its inhabitants, who are survivors or an aftermath of partitions, borders and barbed fences'. They portray the sufferings and trauma undergone by the people during the times of partition.

Tayeba Begum Lipi, 'From 1.7 million mi² To 55,598 mi²', 2013, stainless steel. Image courtesy the artist and The Guild.