Bahia Shehab is Professor of design and founder of the graphic design program at The American University in Cairo. Her work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and streets around the world. She has received a number of international recognitions and awards, which include the BBC 100 Women list, a TED Senior fellowship, a Bellagio fellowship, and a Prince Claus Award. She is the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. Shehab holds a PhD from Leiden University in The Netherlands and is the founding director of TypeLab@AUC. Her publications include You Can Crush the Flowers: A Visual Memoir of the Egyptian Revolution (2021), At The Corner of a Dream (2019), A Thousand Times NO (2010) and the co-authored award winning book A History of Arab Graphic Design (2020).
Growing up during the war in Lebanon I witnessed the destruction of a whole nation’s infrastructure and social fabric. The obsession with documentation intensified when I moved to Cairo and saw the state that the Islamic monuments I was studying were in. “A Thousand Times No” was published a year after I had completed my MA on Islamic Art and Architecture. After the Egyptian revolution the urgency to document resurfaced and more books followed. In this talk I will discuss how books are currently my only archives, in societies where the structures of passing on knowledge have been severed.