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Bahia Shehab

  • Position: Professor of Practice
  • Department: Department of the Arts
  • Email: bahia@aucegypt.edu
Brief Biography

Bahia Shehab is a professor of practice in design and founder of the graphic design program at The American University in Cairo, where she developed a full design curriculum mainly focused on the visual culture of the Arab world. She has taught over 16 courses on the topic. She frequently lectures internationally on Arab visual culture and design, design education and curriculum development, Islamic cultural heritage, and her art practice. Her artwork has been on display in exhibitions, galleries, and streets internationally and has received several international recognition and awards. She is the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. The documentary Nefertiti's Daughters featuring her street artwork during the Egyptian uprising was released in 2015. She is the founding director of TypeLab@AUC. Her latest publications include You Can Crush the Flowers: A Visual Memoir of the Egyptian Revolution and the award winning co-authored book A History of Arab Graphic Design.

    Research Interest
    • Arabic Typography and Calligraphy
    • History of Arab Graphic Design and Visual Culture
    • Design Education and Curriculum Development
    • Arab Art and Politics
    • Arab and Islamic Cultural Heritage
    • PhD, Modern Arab Art, Leiden University, The Netherlands (2019) 
    • MA, Islamic Art and Architecture, American University in Cairo, Egypt (2009) 
    • BGD, Graphic Design, American University of Beirut, Lebanon (1999)

    The book is a research-based tribute to the wealth, diversity, and freedom of expression in art from Islamic lands. It is a rejection of conformity and repression that often plagues the Arab and Islamic cultures. It traces chronologically the history of one letter from the Lam-alif (which also means NO in Arabic) on different items produced under Arab and Islamic patronage over 1400 years from countries that span from Spain to the borders of China. "A Thousand Times No" is a bi-lingual book written, illustrated and designed by Bahia Shehab in conjunction with an installation by the artist under the same title at "The Tradition of Future 100 years after the exhibition ‘Masterpieces of Mohammadan Art'" (Munich-Germany, September 2010-February 2011)

    Selected Book Chapters

    Selected Street Interventions

    Selected Exhibitions

    • Heaven & Hell in the Anthropocene, Interactive art installation, COP27 Green Zone, Sharm el-Sheikh - Egypt, November 6-18, 2022.
    • What Would You Die For?, 28 minute 56-screen video installation. Northwestern University, Doha - Qatar, 24 August 2021 - 30 April 2022.
    • At the Corner of a Dream, Solo Show, Aga Khan Centre, London-UK, 27 September 2019 – 5 January 2020
    • Reflections on Shangri La, Women of Shangri-La 18 150x50 cm wall panels, Mythical Creatures two 70x70 cm tessellations mirrors and Swimming Fish one animation, Honolulu Museum of Art, September 2018
    • The Sound of Light and Hope Video + 12 photographs, Shared Vision, The Old Truman Brewery, London-UK, September 28 -October 7, 2018
    • The Chronicles of Flowers plexiglass screens, video and audio projections, and an artist book documenting 77 flowers, Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul-Turkey, May 2017
    • 12.2.2011 newspaper installation + Adhan” Sound installation + slide projection + wall painting, E-WERK, Freiburg-Germany, May-June 2015
    • Landscape/Soundscape: 20 Minarets from the Arab World – sound installation + wall painting, 22wx3h m, Arab Contemporary, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, ARAB CONTEMPORARY, Humlebæk, Denmark, January-May 2014
    • Quran Lectern of Judge Zaineddine Yahya, Majordomo of Sultan Jaqmaq, installation of original 14th Century Islamic artifact + video, Arab Contemporary, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, ARAB CONTEMPORARY, Humlebæk, Denmark, January-May 2014
    • Story of a Wall in Cairo, Slide show, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Global aCtIVISm, Karlsruhe, Germany, December 2013-March 2014
    • A Thousand Times No, Future of Tradition – Tradition of Future, Munich-Germany, 2010
    • DSGN 2240 - Color 
    • DGSN 2115 - History of Graphic Design
    • DGSN 3115 - History of Graphic Design in the Arab World
    • DSGN 3117 - History of Advertising in the Arab World
    • DGSN 3118 - History of Arabic Calligraphy
    • DGSN 2210 - Typography I: Arabic Typography
    • DGSN 3220 - Typography II: Latin & International Typography
    • DGSN 2201 - Design I: Introduction to Design
    • DGSN 2202 - Design II: Logo and Corporate Identity
    • DGSN 3204 - Design IV: Packaging
    • DSGN 3205 - Design V: Retail Design
    • DGSN 2245 - Illustration
    • DSGN 3265 - Advertising and Branding
    • DSGN 3270 - Designing for Eternity
    • DSGN 4269 - Senior Project Thesis
    • DSGN 4270 - Senior Project