In Conversation With : Bahia Shehab Part 1
Author Daf Beirut
Bahia Shehab – Professor and founder of the graphic design program at the American University in Cairo
A series of in depth interviews with Arthur Debsi, writer and researcher at Dalloul Art Foundation where he discusses various subjects with professionals in the Arab world.
Part 1. Different from art, graphic design is more of a collaborative effort involving the public with an aim to communicate. In the award-winning book A History of Arab Graphic Design published in 2020, co-authors Bahia Shehab and Haytham Nawar analyze the development of graphic design in the MENA region, with over 600 color images (movie and political posters, books, magazines). In the Arab world, the evolution of graphic design includes the work of artists who produce visuals, and the work of the calligraphers such as Algerian Omar Racim (1884-1959), and Lebanese Kamel al-Baba (1905-1991) that go along with text. In the first part of the conversation, Shehab explains how design reflects the evolution of the traditional art practice saying: ‘Knowledge of Islamic visual heritage is key to understanding and discussing modern graphic design’. Following the evolution of technology, this traditional art practice adapted itself to modern times and responded to the demand of the societies in motion. More importantly, graphic design highlights the question of identity, leading the designers from the Arab countries to create a visual language inherent to their respective backgrounds.
Video recorded on Zoom by Arthur Debsi
Edited by Christine Labban