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"Alexandria Diaries," a project by graphic design student Nour Tarabieh, is a collection of hand- illustrated graphic short stories that celebrate Alexandria’s cosmopolitan heritage.

AUC Celebrates The Tenth Class of Graphic Design Program Graduates With “CMDX” Exhibition

May 23, 2024, Cairo, Egypt – The Graphic Design program at the American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrates its tenth class of graduates with the exhibition Command X “Cmd X” currently on display at Sharjah Gallery in AUC New Cairo. 

Featuring the work of 39 students, the exhibition explores themes of gender equality, social impact, cultural heritage and sustainability, offering
viable solutions through art. “CmdX is a computer shortcut used when cutting an item out of one environment and placing it in another,” said Bahia Shehab, professor of graphic design, curator of this year’s exhibition and one of the faculty supervisors for the student projects. “It symbolizes the
conclusion or ‘cut’ of their time in academia and the end of this chapter in their educational journey, marking their transition from students to professionals. The X is also a Roman numeral highlighting a decade of graphic design graduates from AUC, while ‘Command’ signifies their leadership role in the field of design, empowerment to innovate, inspire and effect positive change,” she added.

The show is curated in five thematic clusters reflecting pressing concerns developed by students: “Fragile Equality,” with projects on cultural heritage preservation and gender equality; "Land,” celebrating the beauty of our natural environment as well as the resilience and loss of cultural heritage for communities fighting displacement while highlighting the dangers ahead; “Techno Shaabi,” which highlights Egyptian vernacular street culture in music, fashion and design;

“Wholeness,” focusing on design solutions for physical and mental health while advocating for holistic well-being within different communities; and “Threads and Identity,” exploring and critiquing fashion, culture and gender perception and representation. Shehab noted that many of the projects developed by the students serve as great educational tools for courses that engage with topics of sustainability, cultural heritage, feminism, social justice
and equality. “Exhibitions are important educational spaces and we want our community to use them as such.” 

Throughout their years of study, graphic design students develop various conceptual, technical and professional skills that prepare them for their senior year, which is comprised of a semester dedicated to research and a semester to develop their final projects.

“Alexandria Diaries," a project by graphic design student Nour Tarabieh, is a collection of hand-illustrated graphic short stories that celebrate Alexandria’s cosmopolitan heritage. These stories range from local folk legends to autobiographical accounts. “The stories focus on ethnic and
religious minorities that lived in Alexandria in the 20th century, including Armenians, Greeks, and Jews. They are collected from various personal narratives, as well as from my research at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina,” said Tarabieh. She explained that she chose this project because she
was raised in Alexandria and moved to Cairo at the age of 12. “Today’s Alexandria is certainly very different from the one I depict in my project. I felt these stories were slowly being forgotten, and I wanted to make them memorable and accessible.

Nour Hassan’s project, "Menawara Ya Arousa: Mama’s Tips for a Successful Marriage," is a comic manual that lists guidelines for brides on how to be a good wife. “The project satirizes some of the marriage traditions in Egypt that are unfair to women,” Hassan explained. She noted that the manual is intended to be both humorous and critical, aiming to highlight the absurdity and injustice of these traditional guidelines. “One of the guidelines suggests that a wife should remain silent, accept all her husband’s faults, and treat him not as a husband but as a son, raising him as if he
were a child,” she said.

Other projects are Plastic Promises: n Expository Awareness Campaign About Greenwashing and Unsustainable Consumption, ZooVolution: Unveil the Impact of Zoos on Ecosystem Disruption and Animal Welfare Through a Videogame Experience, Egypt’s Vessel of Memories: A Publication that Documents Egyptian Cassette Tape Heritage, The Courtyard: An Audio-Visual Publication Documenting Syrian Lullabies, Street Royalty - Melouk El Share3: Egyptian Streetwear and the Colloquial Identity and others.

In addition to Shehab, this year’s projects were supervised by faculty members Ahmad Saqfalhait, Brenda Segone, Jochen Braun and Nagla Samir.

The exhibition is open daily to the public from 9 am to 4 pm (except weekends) until September 30.

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Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American- accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 39 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.