Expanding cooperation between Iran and Nigeria through cultural, artistic animation


The global animation market, with an impressive valuation of US$ 354.7 billion in 2020, has witnessed a surge in interest and investments, particularly after the transformation of the Black Panther comic into a blockbuster film. This evolution has spurred remarkable enthusiasm for African content worldwide.

The appeal of animation spans all ages, making it an integral part of modern life due to the substantial volume of productions dedicated to this art form. Iran, in particular, has contributed significantly to the animation landscape, making a mark on the festival circuit and nurturing a burgeoning animation industry. Nevertheless, some observers identify areas in need of improvement within this sector.

While a compelling storyline and the inventive prowess of animators remain pivotal to animation creation, these aspects shine through vividly in Iranian animated works. Dr. Alireza Mohammadinigjeh, an accomplished producer, scriptwriter, and media consultant based in Abuja, propels the discussion around expanding cultural and artistic cooperation between Iran and Nigeria through the medium of animation.

In the realm of multimedia, animation has evolved into an essential tool for contemporary business promotion. Its utility extends to crafting intricate storylines and characters, enabling the production of captivating explainer videos for companies.

Animation empowers storytellers to craft narratives in uniquely engaging ways. The fantastical universes depicted in animated films have the power to rekindle inspiration and the enchantment of storytelling, transcending age boundaries.

Dr. Mohammadinigjeh explains that animation involves capturing successive drawings, models, or even puppets to simulate motion in a sequence. Our eyes retain an image for only about 1/10 of a second, and when these images are displayed rapidly, our brain amalgamates them into a coherent moving image. This can be executed through traditional methods of drawing or painting on transparent sheets, as seen in early cartoons, or more contemporary approaches utilizing computer-generated imagery (CGI). Frame rate, the rate at which consecutive images are displayed per second, plays a crucial role in creating the illusion of fluid motion.

Various types of animation exist, ranging from traditional methods to stop motion and motion graphics. Mohammadinigjeh highlights the remarkable historical precedence of animation in Iranian civilization. He cites the remarkable artifact found in the lower hall of the National Museum of Iran: a clay cup from the ancient Burnt City, bearing the world’s earliest “moving picture” or animation. This cup features a depiction of a goat in five distinct positions, illustrating its gradual movement toward a tree for nourishment. This ancient relic underlines the artistic ingenuity and creativity of the Burnt City’s inhabitants, offering a glimpse into the roots of animation within Iranian culture.

In Nigeria, home to the second-largest film industry globally, animators and cartoonists face the challenge of making their mark within Nollywood. Despite the scarcity of formal training opportunities in the animation realm, Nigerian animators are carving out their niche by producing local content and animated short films. Notably, the upcoming animation series “Iwájú,” a collaborative effort between Walt Disney Animation Studios and Kugali Media, is set in a futuristic Lagos and delves into themes of inequality, class divisions, and coming of age.

The industry, however, grapples with hurdles like capital-intensive production and a lack of specialized training opportunities for animators. Many Nigerian animators are self-taught due to the limited availability of animation training centers within the country. Nonetheless, with increased partnerships and investments, the Nigerian animation sector is poised for significant growth.

PR Newswire projected the global animation industry’s total value to reach $270 billion by 2020, with the streaming market for animation content experiencing consistent growth.

This capital-intensive industry encompasses various production stages, each demanding specialized skills. The absence of adequate training hubs further exacerbates challenges faced by the sector, leaving most Nigerian animators to self-educate. Despite these hurdles, the potential for collaboration and development between Iran and Nigeria through cultural and artistic animation is substantial and promising.

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