First Saudi manga artist highlights Arab culture through its proverbs

Netflix selected Samah Kamel to do a workshop that introduced manga art and techniques at Jeddah’s Comic Con 2018.
Updated 21 May 2018
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First Saudi manga artist highlights Arab culture through its proverbs

  • Kamel's research addresses the ability to use manga art to represent the Kingdom’s culture through its proverbs
  • Kamel’s interest in art started in her early years when her mother was an art teacher

JEDDAH: Samah Kamel, a Saudi freelance mangaka (manga artist), earned her master’s degree from the College of Art and Design at King Abdul Aziz University. She is the first Saudi to do her graduation research on manga (Japanese comics). 

Her research addresses the ability to use manga art to represent the Kingdom’s culture through its proverbs. 

The research aimed to define manga art, traditional Saudi proverbs, and how to benefit from manga art to develop contemporary paintings.

Kamel’s interest in art started in her early years when her mother was an art teacher. By watching dubbed animation, Kamel’s interest grew further. 

“The animations and manga productions of the 1990s and 2000s were the starting point for me to do more research on this art and develop my own skills,” she said.

“Manga is directed at all people from different ages and interests with different themes, including romance, action adventure, science fiction, comedy, sports and adult subject matter.”

The idea behind her master’s research was to explore the possibility of using manga as a technique to present known Saudi proverbs, and to introduce manga as an art and tool that can be used to reflect Saudi identity and promote the Kingdom’s culture. 

The research resulted in her first manga book “Hikayat Mathal” (“Tale of Proverb”), published in Arabic and English. The book used manga art to represent Hijazi proverbs visually.

Recognition of manga as an art is increasing among the Kingdom’s young population, and Kamel’s research confirms its recognition at the academic level. 

“Today, we have different channels to start producing manga and animation, such as Manga Productions (an affiliated company of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation) and other startups specialized in comics and manga productions,” she said. 

Her published book opened doors for her to discover the public’s interest in manga, and enabled her to meet with talented local artists. 

Netflix selected her to do a workshop that introduced manga art and techniques at Jeddah’s Comic Con 2018.

“Although manga art is increasingly recognized in Saudi Arabia, we lack Arabic resources and books that explain manga art and its history,” Kamel said. 

She is planning to publish her research as a book that discusses manga and its historical developments and techniques.


Saudi Arabia gears up for live music festival during E-Prix race

Updated 21 November 2018
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Saudi Arabia gears up for live music festival during E-Prix race

  • International and Arab musicians are set to perform
  • The event will be held at the UNESCO heritage site of Ad Diriyah

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will be hosting a three-day music festival during the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in December.

International and Arab musicians are set to perform for fans to celebrate the first staging of the Formula E race.

The event will be held at the UNESCO heritage site of Ad Diriyah where six major artists will be performing each night from December 13, 14 and after the race itself on December 15.

“The ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix is set to be the hottest ticket in town for so many reasons, from breath-taking electric racing, to entertainment, to culture. Soon everyone will find out who is coming, and we can promise a festival of music that offers fans, friends and families an unmissable experience,” Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, said.

“We suggest fans avoid the rush by getting your ticket now to avoid disappointment after the names are released,” he added.