Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye

As a child born into a large family in northern Bangladesh, the artist frequently witnessed home births, where the only tool available for the procedure was a disinfected razor blade. Later in her life, the razor blade resurfaced as a key object in the artist’s work, as she explored the themes of patriarchy and domestic life. In Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, a carefully crafted steel mattress and pillow seem so soft, they almost invite audiences to lay down on them. Yet the blades expose a domestic world where intimacy is inextricable from violence, danger, and abandonment. Similarly, in My Metal Mask, Lipi uses steel to offer armour and protection for the wearer, against the danger of an unseen aggressor. It is within these tensions, where the viewer is both pulled in and pushed away, that the artist reveals the paradoxes and complexities of being a woman in Bangladeshi society.

Stainless steel
200 x 125 x 20 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Tayeba Begum Lipi
About Tayeba Begum Lipi

Born in 1969 in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, Lipi completed her MFA in drawing and painting at the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka in 1993. In 2002, she co-founded Britto Arts Trust,

Bangladesh’s first artist-run alternative arts platform, dedicated to organising exhibitions, enabling international dialogue and exchange, and providing support to the country’s artists through residencies, workshops, and funding. Lipi’s practice engages painting, printmaking, installation and video, and she often comments on such themes as the politics of gender and female identity.

Learning Section
  • The bed/mattress is often regarded as a safe place signifying home and security. The mattress which the artist has created appears inviting from afar yet upon closer inspection it is revealed to be made of razor blades--sharp and dangerous. How does this make you feel? Can you imagine lying down on a bed of razor blades? How would you interpret this interplay of materiality?

  • The artist often addresses the personal and the political dimensions of femalehood  by juxtaposing notions of femininity and comfort with that of pain. What is the artist trying to convey with this juxtaposition represented by the comfort of the mattress and the dangerous razor blades?  


  • The artist highlights the paradoxes faced by rural Bangladeshi women to address the gender inequality, structural violence and marginalization which make up their realities. Research this issue and how it manifests in other countries, or have a conversation about these issues with the women in your family. 

  • Create an artwork that reflects the research you have done and the conversations you had. Try to use shocking juxtapositions as a visual device.