Comic animations and video clips enjoy increasing popularity in Arabic social media. One of the trailblazers in this field in the Middle East is the Jordanian animation studio Kharabeesh.
Indeed, it was the “lack and need for original Arabic content” on YouTube and other social media sites that spurred Wael Attili, Mohammad Asfour and Wafa Nablusi to establish Kharabeesh (“Doodles” in Arabic) back in 2008.
Starting out of a small office in Amman, The studio has grown quickly and is now one of the most notable young companies in the Jordanian capital, whose vibrant start-up scene has prompted the Washington Post to label the city “The Arab world’s Silicon Valley”.
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Kharabeesh’s videos now reach millions of viewers across the Arab world. The Arab spring has undoubtedly provided a boost, both in popularity and creativity. The current most popular sketches on the studio’s YouTube channel, each with well over a million views, are all poking fun at political leaders deposed in the recent wave of Arab revolts.
See, for example, Muammar Gaddafi delivering a bizarre stand-up comedy routine on Arabs’ Got Talent and the famous ‘Mubarak is high’ series, mocking Hosni Mubarak’s speeches to the Egyptian population before his downfall. The videos linked are in Arabic, but subtitles in English, French and other languages are provided.
But political cartoons are just one aspect of Kharabeesh’s output. Their website, Kharabeesh.com, features several shows of short sketches with different themes and animation styles, and even longer live-action content — for example, there’s the Adventures of the Mini Entrepreneur, the social comedy Fe-Male and many more.
Inspired to try out animation for yourself? Kharabeesh Workshop also features animation tutorials in the Kharabeesh style.