Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cartoons in the United Arab Emirates





Hamdoon, a cartoon character, is more and more popular in the Emirates particularly among the locals who use that word as a diminutive for Hamdan, a very common name which also refers to the typically Emirati way of wearing the tarha, the head-scarf.



Supported by official institutions like the Khalifa Fund to Support and Develop Small & Medium Enterprises and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, Hamdoon, created by Abdullah Mohammad Al Sharhan (عبدالله محمد الشرهان), is another attempt to foster the Emirati (political) identity with popular cartoon characters, popular with the young generation, like (Ajaaj in Dubai a few months ago.



Cartoons are flourishing in the Emirates, but not only for the young. The coming Ramadan should see new episodes of very successful series directed to a family audience, like Shaabiyat al-cartoon (شعبية الكرتون), by Haydar Muhammad (حيدر محمد), or Freej (فريج, for “the district”), a rather unconventional carton created by Mohammed Harib (محمد حارب) whose main characters are four aged ladies commenting the amazing transformations in the Emirates.

From Hamdoon to Freej, via Ajaaj and many others, cartoons are not at all stripped off of some political meaning.

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