Little Amal the giant 3.5metre puppet of a 9 year old Syrian girl has arrived in London. She has been travelling across Europe on her journey to raise awareness of refugees. Starting in Turkey she crossed into Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium before landing in the UK at Folkestone.
Everywhere she has been Little Amal has been met with crowds. Mostly positive with the exception of a worrying exception in Greece. People have lined the streets and in London it was no different. Watching her on her journey through London along the South Bank this was clearly a popular visitor.
Little Amal in London
Made by the Handspring Puppet Company, Little Amal is operated by three people. One stands on stilts and operates the body, two other operators work the arms. As Amal moves the puppeteers move in sync with each other. Taking the role of a curious visitor she explores the area around her. Constantly curious and childlike, she takes joy in the small wonders along her journey. A glance at the Thames, a hug of a tree, the strangeness of a cleaning cart. Her walk, although short from the Globe to the Southbank Centre was full of wonder.
Her journey so far has taken many months. Starting in Gaziantep near the Syrian border she will eventually end up in Manchester. This has been a journey of hope and one that in turn helps to reframe narratives around refugees. Many of whom are displaced in camps near the Syrian border in Turkey. Her message to the people of Europe is “don’t forget about us”. Little Amal’s route to London so far has gone some way to keeping that message alive.
As Little Amal makes her journey she does so representing so many other children like her. The crisis in Syria caused huge displacement and that has resulted in many Little Amals. As Amal walks she does so for many reasons, to find her mother, to go to school, to start a new life! Her name in Arabic even means “Hope”.
“It is because the attention of the world is elsewhere right now that it is more important than ever to reignite the conversation about the refugee crisis and to change the narrative around it” says Amir Nazir Zuabi the Artistic Director. “Yes, refugees need food and blankets. But they also need dignity and a voice. The purpose of The Walk is to highlight the potential of the refugee. Not just their dire circumstances. Little Amal is 3.5 metres tall because we want the world to grow big enough to greet her. We want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger.”
The Walk with Little Amal started on 27 July 2021 in Gaziantep, Turkey she arrived on the South Bank in London on 23 October 2021. She is due to complete her journey in Manchester on 3 November 2021. You can find out a lot more about Amal’s journey here.
Little Amal Gallery
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