Bahia Shehab: Revolt and Expression through Street Art

how big is the idea bahia shehab

Bahia Shehab’s Struggle in Artistic Expression

Bahia Shehab, an esteemed university professor, brought her spirit of defiance and enlightenment to the streets of Stavanger, Norway, in September 2017. Through her art, she aimed to educate and motivate, infusing the walls with a powerful message of resistance born during the Egyptian revolution.

The Inspiration Behind “How Big is The Idea”

Shehab’s mural in Stavanger draws its essence from a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. The artwork, titled “How Big is the Idea,” encapsulates the third stanza of Darwish’s poem. This stanza reads, “How vast is the revolution, How narrow is the journey, How big is the idea, How small is the state.”

Poetic Illustration of Activism

For the attentive observer, a smaller text accompanies the main piece, showcasing the fourth stanza of Darwish’s poem: “how small is the state.” This subtle yet potent addition amplifies Shehab’s commentary on the power of ideas and activism in combating the forms of civil oppression she witnesses daily in Cairo, Egypt, her hometown.

Medium and Context

Using the medium of spray paint, Shehab’s mural at Siriskjeret 13A, 4014 Stavanger, transforms an apartment building’s wall into a canvas for thought-provoking typographic and historical street art. Her creation, part of the street art movement, operates as a stencil, depicting the resilience and strength inherent in voicing dissent.

Reflections on Art and Activism

In Shehab’s perspective, while art possesses the capacity to inspire, it often falls short in compelling action. Her mural stands as a testament to the belief that to achieve meaningful change, particularly in her region, more than artistic expression is required; it necessitates active participation and engagement.

Conclusion: Bahia Shehab’s Indelible Mark

Bahia Shehab, through her poignant and eloquent mural in Stavanger, echoes the sentiments of resistance, resilience, and the potency of ideas against oppression. Her artwork not only serves as a visual tribute to activism but also sparks contemplation and conversation, leaving an enduring impression within the realm of street art.

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