Qatari writer to donate proceeds of her book to Qatar Cancer Society

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AngelPolacco

Some people pursue writing, some pursue art. To pursue both, and to be known as a writer, and a designer, is quite a phenomenal feat.

Noor Al-Nasr, a Qatari writer and artist, loves animated films, recently debuted her art in the Qatar Fine Arts Association gallery at Katara Cultural Village, and has written two published books. 

Al-Nasr studied graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQ) and did her masters at the Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, in the United States.

Pictured above: Ana min Jeel art gallery opening in Katara

“It was my first solo gallery exhibition and it was something I always wanted to do but didn’t have the right time or the opportunity to do it,” Al-Nasr said. “It came at a time where I was working on a book called ‘أنا من جيل’ pronounced Ana min Jeel, which translates to “I am from this generation.”

Popular(t) culture

Ana min Jeel explores Al-Nasr’s journey as being one of the people who grew up and experienced the period in the Arab world (from the 1970s to 1990s) where Japanese animation — dubbed in Arabic — was trending and popular. 

According to Al-Nasr, these cartoons were carefully chosen based on how appropriate they were in order for children to view them. These cartoons were selected using specific guidelines. They had to be educational and appealing for children.

“What’s amazing is that these cartoons were not only popular between kids but [were] also appealing to the whole family,” Al-Nasr said. “It captured the imagination and taught core values that connects us all as human beings from around the world.”

Al-Nasr’s art gallery, which is also named after her publication, reflects some of the content from her book, and in a way acts as a visual introduction to Ana min Jeel.

“For the [gallery] opening, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Falah Hashim, who is one of the most famous names that worked on dubbed cartoons,” said Al-Nasr. 

Pictured above: Falah Hashim

Hashim is a poet and is renowned for dubbing cartoons. He is also known for his work in Adnan Wa Lena (from the cartoon عدنان ولينا) the Japanese version is known as Future Boy Conan, Dinosaur War Izenborg, and other works that nuanced voice acting in the Middle East.

“He is also responsible for many theme songs that we still sing today and that are viewed an endless amount of times on youtube,” Al-Nasr said.

For the love of cartoons

Ana min Jeel is Al-Nasr’s second published book. It tells the story of her love for cartoons, and depicts the impact that these particular cartoons had on a generation of children who grew up watching them. 

“Some people became artists, some were inspired to take on a career, some made friendships from all over the world because of their love and interest in these [cartoons],” Al-Nasr said. “I find it fascinating that someone from Qatar can share the same memories with someone from Morocco or Japan. All are connected through cartoons.”

Al-Nasr wrote the book in order to evoke nostalgia from people who used to watch the cartoons. She said that the people who grew up watching these cartoons share something and understand certain references that are made. It also highlights their shared taste for classical Arabic.

“I wanted to have a document that can bring a smile to someone by taking them through memory lane, or have it as a point of reference for anything related to the 70s, 80s, and 90s cartoons that were shown in the Arab world,” she said. “As grownups, we still hold on to that part of our childhood. Some people might not get it, so this book also serves to create an understanding of this community.”

A good cause

Ana min Jeel is currently sold at the Doha Book Fair, and will soon be distributed in stores around the Gulf, and possibly online. Al-Nasr is selling her book as non-profit, and will donate the proceeds to the Qatar Cancer Society (QCS).

“I believe that the efforts of this amazing organization (QCS) should be highlighted. I found that almost everyone you meet unfortunately has a connection to [cancer] and I hope that anything we do can help anyone who is in need especially in times like these.”

If you'd like to support Noor Al-Nasr's book you can purchase it at the Doha Book Fair. It will help support an amazing cause!

Did you enjoy watching Arabic-dubbed Japanese cartoons when you were little? Comment below!