Japanese anime takes Sharjah by storm at SHASHAH festival

Sharjah: The three-day SHASHAH festival featuring Japanese anime (animation) kicked off Friday in Aljada, Sharjah, with workshops, film screenings, panel discussions, musical performances, contests, cosplays and more again.

The event is organized by FUNN, a Sharjah-based organization that promotes media arts learning among children and young people. Until Sunday, 4-10 p.m., the opening of SHASHAH 2022 was heard by Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi, Director of FUNN, who said, “SHASHAH represents the totality of media arts that appear on screen, whether in the medium of photography, cinema or animation.Whether they are absorbed by television, computers, cinema or a mobile gadget, they all come under the general framework of the arts.

She added, “This is FUNN’s first event focused exclusively on the art of anime, and we’ve chosen a name that embodies all aspects of this unique art form. SHASHAH thus explores the divergent artistic styles of anime with an array of artists and creators who will lead our children and young people into its deep and expressive world.

Sheikha Jawaher bint Abdullah Al Qasimi said this is FUNN’s first event focusing exclusively on anime art
Image Credit: Supplied


Young children experienced learning the Japanese art of origami during a workshop led by Sahar Abdalla, a visual artist facilitator and artistic director, who introduced the children to the art of “paper folding” .

On Friday, children and young people were also introduced to the art of “2D Anime Sketching” where they explored the art of drawing anime portraits, while in the “Creating Visual Novels” session, participants learned techniques for adding visual appeal and interactivity to novels. .

The ‘Coloring Manga & Anime’ session equipped young anime enthusiasts with the aesthetic skills of coloring manga characters while in the ‘Introduction to Chibi Style’ workshop, participants were guided through the basics of drawing anime. anime characters with big heads and small bodies.

workshop at SHACHAH 2022

Several workshops are organized for children
Image Credit: Supplied

cinematic journey

Families and children gathered to watch “The Journey” by Kôbun Shizuno, produced by Manga Productions in Saudi Arabia. The film is based on a tale taken from the Arabian Peninsula and set 1,500 years ago. The narrative tells the story of a potter named Aus who takes up arms against an invader threatening to enslave the people of Mecca.

Emirati anime artists

Meanwhile, young Emirati anime artists showcase their artwork for sale to anime lovers of all ages at the event. Kiosks dotting the “Artists’ Alley” at the venue showcase a range of trinkets printed with anime fan designs and anime-inspired artwork by creatives, part of a growing community young Emiratis brought together by their common passion for the genre.

“My dad introduced me to anime,” said 24-year-old Emirati animator Madiya Zayed. “He would buy anime series dubbed in Arabic on tapes and CDs, and we would watch them together.”

Bassam Al Naqbi, who started his artistic journey in primary school, presents his sketches at SHASHAH 2022. compiled his collection of anime and comic sketches into a self-published book.


Bassam Al-Naqbi
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Sisters Shayma and Noora Alshemeri, both in their twenties, share a fondness for anime which they channeled into a small business focusing on anime-inspired artwork on tote bags and handbags. miniature prints.

Nouf Albloushi, 23, also runs a small business on Instagram offering posts designed with caricatures called “chibis”. She said, “I tried recreating my favorite characters from ‘Demon Slayer’ and ‘My Hero Academia’ to make them cuter.”

“Anime can transform lives”

Abdul Rahman Al Ali, a young entrepreneur running an anime merchandise store, shared how he turned his passion for the pop culture phenomenon into a pioneering business during a SHASHAH chat.

During a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the opening day of the event, Al Ali, founder of ‘Anime Store’ in Umm Al Quwain, described how since its debut in 2016, the store has participated in 26 conventions of comics, exhibitions and other related events across the country to date.


Abdul Rahman Al Ali said anime “often has important underlying messages”
Image Credit: Supplied

In a session moderated by Faisal Al Qudra and Bisher Zamot, Al Ali said, “Anime is not purely entertainment; it often contains important underlying messages and values ​​that leave a strong impact on viewers and can even transform lives. In the silent anime project I worked on during my college years, I attempted to capture this deeply moving essence of anime.

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