Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, has been traveling the world since July 2021. And after touring NYC last year, she will make a 6,000-mile journey across the United States beginning this September.
Last fall, Little Amal walked all five boroughs, beginning at JFK airport. The symbolic puppet had already traveled a sum of 9,000km around 12 countries and 85 cities. She represents “all children fleeing war, violence and persecution” delivering an urgent message to the world: “Don’t forget about us.”
The remarkable puppet was built by Handspring Puppet Company, known for creating the puppets in the international hit play War Horse. Made from “robust but lightweight materials” such as cane and carbon fibre, Handspring had to ensure their creation could withstand traveling such intense distances.
It takes an entire team of four puppeteers to operate Little Amal. Two puppeteers man her arms, one walks on stilts to support her back, and the last controls ‘the harp,’ which brings Little Amal’s face, head and eyes to life through a variety of strings.
Her walk through NYC’s five boroughs was in partnership with St. Ann’s Warehouse, a performing arts theater in Brooklyn. Little Amal Walks NYC was one of the largest public art festivals in NYC history, with a total of 55 events spanning across 17 days.
Throughout her journey, Little Amal was joined by artists, civic leaders, community groups, and more for her ‘Events of Welcome.’
And as she moves on from NYC and towards other U.S. cities, Little Amal will join more than 1,500 artists at more than 100 events. It will all begin in Boston on September 7, 2023 and end in San Diego on November 5, 2023. Throughout her 6,000-mile journey, she will make stops at iconic sites such as the U.S. Capitol, Joshua Tree National Park, and more.
“The story of the United States has been shaped by a complex history of migration and movement that touches every corner of the globe,” said The Walk Productions Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi. “But the myriad challenges of today’s interconnected world are forcing many to revisit America’s status as the land of opportunity. Our hope for Amal is that she can spur conversations in communities across the country around the important role of refugees and newcomers in writing the ongoing story of the United States.”
You can view her full journey and the entire events calendar with times here.
To learn more about Little Amal, see here.