Wat Wat: a space for the Lebanese youth to express themselves

Wat Wat: a space for the Lebanese youth to express themselves

February 3, 2020

Since 2007, the Samandal association, which is based in Beirut, has been distributing a quarterly magazine filled with publications written by figures from the Lebanese artistic scene.

Samandal (which has just been awarded at the Angoulême BD Festival: alternative comics prize) encourages young artists from the Mediterranean basin to be innovative with the content they produce and This initiative encourages young peopleto address social issues inspired by everyday life through humorous comic strips, thus promoting inter-cultural exchanges.

Thanks to the WAT WAT project, Samandal is launching a collection of humorous comic strips for young people under 18 years old who are passionate about comics.

Léna Merhej, a member of the Wat Wat organising committee explains: “ This initiative encourages young people, especially those under the age of 18, to take an interest in art and literature. The team helps these young people to write scripts in French and Arabic, in collaboration with the French Institute of Beirut."

A first in the Arab world

WAT WAT will publish more than 40 stories written by young people in comic books which will be submitted to a jury made up of artists and enthusiasts. The two selected winners will be offered support to develop their stories and scripts.

This new comic book project for young people is a first in the Arab world. Through these creations, WAT WAT tackles social issues in a humorous and subtle way. This approach is fuelled by short and accessible photos and dialogues.
It is inspired by the famous Arabic quote يلعبون ‫علم الاطفال وهم “Let children play whilst they learn"‬‬

WAT WAT uses digital communication channels and photography to reach the younger generation. The comic strips in Arabic, French and English are available free of charge on the social network Instagram and on the Samandal website.

Wat Wat is one of the 18 projects that was selected and has been receiving support from D-Jil since 2018. What these ambitious and innovative projects have in common is a desire to do things differently and to open up new perspectives for young people in the Arab world through topics that affect and concern them.

Co-financed by the European Union and supported by CFI, in partnership with the Fondation Samir Kassir, FMAS, IREX Europe and Leaders of Tomorrow, D-JIL fosters active citizenship and autonomy in young people in nine Arab world countries, using online media as a vehicle.