Mirna Shehab



Mirna Shehab


Artist Statement


My project is all about city lights in Korniche el-Nile. One of the many characteristics of Cairo is that it is always awake. People return to their homes very late at night and shops stay open until dawn. Tourists are always amazed with our nightlife since it is not like any other city. Also, most Egyptians are night people who prefer to go out when the sun goes down. By night, the cafés fill up, people meet and have fun. I believe this is a very important characteristic that defines Egypt and especially Cairo. It distinguishes us from other countries like England and other European countries that close its doors at 7pm.

For my project I decided to paint one of the greatest architecturally built buildings, which is the Nile Towers which is on the Korniche el-Nile. After painting the building I stuck out small light bulbs that lit up to emphasize my theme. I decided to work on a canvas because it is easy to paint on with all types of paint and when it was time to put the lights, it was easy to cut through. I started with painting the background with oil paint since I wanted something that mixes colors in order to give me the sunset image. I left it a while to dry, which took so long, and decided to paint the building above it with the same type of paint. After realizing that that was a mistake since it took even longer to dry, I started planning where I will put my lights with a pencil. It was very hard to find these lights in Cairo so it took me a long time to start with the cutting. By that time the paint was absolutely dry and easy to work over. Although the lights were not exactly the places I wanted them to be, they were fine. I tried to make the lights stick exactly where I had picked with some super glue, they were always a centimeter right, left, up or down.  I had planned to stick paper with black and white windows but after arranging them on top of my canvas, I did not like it at all and decided to remove the whole idea of the windows. After lighting it up I really liked it and felt like it all got together at the end. I went over the black buildings with more acrylic black since the pencil scribbles were showing and I was not willing to use oil paint and wait for it to dry. I ended up painting over some of the lights, which was a huge mistake I made, but I managed to get half of them off with tissue.

During this project I had many new experiences since this was my first time ever using a canvas and actually draw with paint. My only experience with paint was in school during art class but that was a long time ago. I got to understand the pros and cons of many types of paint, which will help me a lot next time. The oil paint was a huge problem for me since it needed a very long time to dry. However, I loved the result and I believe it was so worth it.

This project has helped me grow as an artist and I think I’m getting used to putting more ideas into my work. It also helped me exercise my imagination and showed me my strengths.

I think I was able to express my theme through art. I strongly believe that city lights are not simply views but they are an important trait in the Egyptian culture that says a lot about our life style. I am very impressed with my project although if I had to do it again, I would just be more careful with the paint.


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