Tayeba Begum LIPI
My Mother’s Dressing Table
The original dresser is a vintage from England. My father used to work for the Railway department, which was built and developed by the British Raj during the British régime in the Indian Sub-Continent. In 1947 India became independent; the British rulers had to leave the colonized India. My father’s British boss had a great collection of furniture that he did not want to take back home. Among all other furniture, the dresser was the one that the boss had inherited from him ancestors. He sold some of his furniture including the dresser to my father and my father happily bought it for my mother as a wonderful gift.
During my childhood, this dressing table was a huge wonder to me along with its 3 big and 3 small drawers and the small round mirror on top. Each drawer contained lot of things related to the girls of the home. It had a beautiful stool, but there is no more. After many years of my mother’s death no one is interested about this wonderful dresser, I asked my family to give it to me. With its very thin legs, the very old wooden dresser with its history and originality, it still works for me. The replicated piece that I have made out of razors is a tribute to my mother.
I Do Not Wear This
Bangladesh has the largest delta, the Bay of Bengal with many beautiful beaches.
I love to explore the bikinis and swim suits etc. Bikini is a symbol of leisure that people who are on vacation around beaches. Bikini is such an iconic item of clothing, although it focuses the contradictions and differences between lifestyles and cultural sensitivities around the world. Finding someone wears bikini on the beautiful beaches is indeed a huge cultural shock for the people who are from a Muslim majority country such as Bangladesh.
Bikini depicts a strong presence of a product of our super consumer society. Since I bought a bikini but never wear them. It seems like a hidden treasure to me. I tried to expose the bikinis as precious consumer goods and considered to show them as museum pieces.
Destination (2 cascades)
The mummy like cascades I made as part of a project titled ‘Reversal Reality’ in 2014. I worked with a transgender for this project. Anonnya, the transgender and I went through our childhood memories, photographs, some belongings and sharing of some personal skills. I have done a dual-channel black-and-white video work of her experiences as a transgender alongside of my activity digging my own grave to hide my own helplessness. After listening to her painful experiences, I came back with a heavy heart. I was thinking about her lifestyle, pressure, pain, struggle, love, hate, life and death at the same time. During the execution of the whole project, I kept comparing my own life with Anonnya’s life. The endless gap between her and me, how prioritized I was from my childhood and what difficulties and struggle she went through in her entire life----every time I closely worked on the project, I ended up with life and death only.
We may be very fortunate to live a much comfortable much prioritized life, but in the end of the day we all are destined to die. Therefore, alongside of the video, series of childhood images of both Anonnya and me on back lit light boxes. Some replicated personal objects of Anonnya, a copper wire made wig and a sound work with two fiber-glass made portraits of both of us which I installed these two cascades as part of the project.
Most of my works are related to very personal issues of human life. I always like to play with contradictions as I think our life is full of absurdity. My sculptures play between conflicts and paradoxes; for example, a baby’s cot or a pram are expected to be the most secure and soft place for a child. Instead the cold and sharp razor blades add a different dimension to the object.
When I had my socking bloody miscarriage years ago, my dream of a baby cot or a stroller and other usual belongings of a baby that any mother could dream off suddenly became a very cold and empty space to me. I realized and at the same time did not realize the nightmare of those unexpected painful hours that took away all my sweet dreams all of a sudden. It took me months to make my mind doing this piece of work.
How does a hospital look like when there is war going on? I never experienced myself a real war though, my little knowledge of any war gathered from television screen. My eyes stuck on the TV screen one day during the Gaza attack. There was an emergency door of a hospital where was lack of wheel chairs or trolleys because of the overcrowded injured people. At some point of the news, the camera stuck on 3 wheel chairs in the lobby- a fully open, a half open and closed wheel chairs next to each other.
My memory with wheel chair is very personal. My mother had brain hemorrhage in 1994. One part of her body became paralyzed and she used to sit on a wheel chair for 3 more years until she passed away. After my mother’s death, I used to stare at that wheel chair whenever I went to my hometown. Many times, I thought about doing something with that particular chair, but I could not go further with my idea in the end.
After watching the TV news of Gaza attack and that specific composition of the wheel chairs, I finally decided to work on it. The composition of the chairs in fact identifies the appearance and disappearance of human body. An uncomfortable painful journey of sufferings no one expects in life.
Tayeba Begum LIPI
Born in 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh.
Lives and Works in Dhaka, Bangladesh.