Professor of Practice
Department of the Arts


Brief Biography

Bahia Shehab is a professor of the practice of design and founder of the graphic design program at The American University in Cairo, where she has developed a full design curriculum mainly focused on the visual culture of the Arab world. She has taught over fourteen 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. The documentary Nefertiti's Daughters were featuring her street artwork during the Egyptian uprising released in 2015. Her publications include "A Thousand Times NO: The Visual History of Lam-Alif." She is the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture

Courses Taught 

  • 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 


Shehab, Bahia, "At the Corner of a Dream." London: Gingko, 2019. 

Nawar, H., Shehab, B., “A History of Arab Graphic Design,” Cairo-New York American University in Cairo Press, Egypt, 2020.

Shehab, Bahia, A Thousand Times No - Alif Lam-Alif: The Visual History of the Lam-Alif. Amsterdam: Khatt Books, 2011.

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

  • “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

Awards and Fellowships

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 & Architecture, American University in Cairo, Egypt (2009) 

BGD, Graphic Design, American University of Beirut, Lebanon (1999)