You Can Crush the Flowers
A Visual Memoir of the Egyptian Revolution
by Bahia Shehab
Format: Paperback with flaps, 200×300 mm
Published: January 2021
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Part visual history, part memoir, You Can Crush the Flowers is the celebrated Egyptian-Lebanese artist Bahia Shehab’s chronicle of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and its aftermath, as it manifested itself not only in the art on the streets of Cairo but also through the wider visual culture that emerged during the revolution. Marking the ten year anniversary of the revolution, the book tells the stories that inspired both her own artwork and those of her fellow-revolutionaries. It narrates the events of the revolution as they unfolded, describing on one hand the tactics deployed by the regime to drive protesters from the street — from the use of tear gas and snipers to employing brute force, intimidation techniques and virginity tests — and on the other hand the retaliation by the protesters online and on the street in marches, chants, street art and memes. Throughout this powerful and moving account, and using a vast array of over 250 images, Bahia Shehab responds to what she has witnessed as both artist and activist. The result bears witness to the brutality of the regime and pays tribute to the protestors who bravely defied it.
Bahia Shehab is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and art historian. Her work is concerned with identity and preserving cultural heritage. Through investigating Islamic art history she reinterprets contemporary Arab politics, feminist discourse and social issues. She is Professor of Design at The American University in Cairo. Her book At the Corner of a Dream: A Journey of Resistance & Revolution – The Street Art of Bahia Shehab was published in 2019.
Cornelia Wegerhoff interviews Bahia Shehab for WDR 3 Culture Radio (German):