Through her work, Tayeba Begum Lipi explores the feminist issues of marginality and representation of the female body. In Bizarre and Beauty
(2012), Lipi swaps flesh for a sea of steely, impersonal and implicitly violent razor blades rendering the woman in the painting faceless—a cut-out. In Bizarre and Beautiful II
(2011), a collection of 30 bras made from razor blades hangs from coat hangers on a wheeled garment rack.
My Daughter’s Cot II
(2012) is as jarring as it is singular—a baby’s crib constructed almost entirely out razor blades. “I'm the 11th of 12 children,” she says, explaining the piece. “I was born in the northern part of Bangladesh in a very small town called Gaibandha. I watched my nephews and nieces grow up next to me. Those days women gave birth at home with the help of a village woman. The only tool to support the delivery was a new sharp razor blade that had to be boiled on a stove before the baby was born.”
In recent years, Lipi has risen to become a leader in Bangladesh’s still-nascent contemporary scene. She co-founded of the Britto Arts Trust
in 2002, the country’s first artist-led non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting and developing contemporary Bangladeshi artists.
In 2004, Lipi was awarded the Grand Prize at the Asian Art Biennial in Dhaka. In 2011, she was selected as commissioner among five artists chosen to represent Bangladesh in the country's first pavilion at the Venice Biennale; the following year, she co-curated the Kathmandu International Art Festival. Recently, her work was chosen for the traveling exhibition, “No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia” appearing at the Guggenheim Museums in New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. Some of the work was acquired by the Guggenheim for its permanent collection.
Lipi was born in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, and received her BFA and MFA in fine arts at the University of Dhaka, where she studied drawing and painting. She lives and works in Dhaka.