The Artist as Activist is the first major museum exhibition to bring together a comprehensive body of work by Mahbubur Rahman and Tayeba Begum Lipi, two of Bangladesh's foremost contemporary artists. As individuals, the breadth of their oeuvres is presented, but so too is their shared journey as husband and wife—their interchange of ideas, overlapping of themes, and common campaign which casts a lens on the world around them. As activists they question the social values, expectations, and conventions that are part of their everyday lives, challenging the viewer on both universal and personal levels. But more than this, the artists are linked by their desire to not only comment on the world around them, but to change it. Their work—cathartic, antagonistic, or reflective—probes, questions, and seeks to create something new and something positive. And in this way, perhaps without even knowing it themselves, they each assume a very distinct role as artist and activist.
The Artist as Activist: Tayeba Begum Lipi and Mahbubur Rahman is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Caitlín Doherty, Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs. Support for this exhibition is provided by Bengal Foundation, Bangladesh and the MSU Broad’s general exhibitions fund.