A – Z: Cartoon Screening & Writing Exercise by Anita Shishani

This workshop hopes to guide participants on a journey of self-reflection through screening three short cartoons and responding to a series of writing prompts. The building blocks of morality, or the A-Z of an understanding of good and bad, often comes in the form of cartoons for children, as these are the first stories that people are introduced to. This specific selection of cartoons includes one Soviet cartoon, based on a Swedish story, and two American cartoons. The selection bears in mind how most children’s stories from around the world tend towards encouraging people to strive towards universal ideas of good: kindness, compassion, selflessness, softness, generosity. Through the writing exercises, the second half of this workshop hopes to question with each participant how their current ideas of success align with their childhood beliefs It also seeks to unpack how generations that were raised by such powerful on-screen depictions of kindness as an ideal, have allowed, endorsed and even instigated so much harm around the world. How did we go from A to Z? Will this continue to happen? How do we remind ourselves of our childhood courage?

Anita Shishani is a multidisciplinary artist, curator and researcher, raised in Al Ain and of Chechen origin. She holds a B.A. in Art History from New York University Abu Dhabi where she specialised in Arab and Iranian modern and contemporary art. Anita is invested in researching the phenomenon of hurufiyya amongst Arab artists.

Anita is dedicated to archiving the artworks and lives of contemporary UAE-based artists through her podcast, Khosh Bosh. From the vantage point of a unique cultural crossroad, she is committed to empowering creative thinkers based in the UAE, helping them find their voice, tell their story, and strengthen their foothold in the global landscape. Anita currently works as a curator for Dirwaza Curatorial Lab.

Image: Still from Junior and Karlson (1968), directed by Boris Stepantsev



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