“Walk with Amal” is a theatrical an artistic project that combines elements of theater, puppetry, music, and visual arts to create a unique and impactful experience. It involves a giant puppet named Little Amal embarking on a journey across several countries. A 3.5-meter-tall puppet representing a young refugee girl, Little Amal was created to remind us of the struggles faced by displaced individuals.
The project was initiated by the Good Chance Theatre, a UK-based theater company known for its work in refugee camps, in collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company, renowned for their work on the stage production of “War Horse.” The aim of “Walk with Amal” is to raise awareness about the refugee crisis and advocate for the rights and well-being of displaced people.
“Little Amal’s journey started in July 2021 from the Syrian-Turkish border. Since then, she has travelled more than 9,000 km to 94 towns in 14 countries and she’s been welcomed by more than a million people on the street, engaging with local people, artists, civil society and faith leaders and organizations. Little Amal’s journeys are festivals of art and hope that draw attention to the huge numbers of children fleeing war, violence and persecution, each with their own story. Her urgent message to the world is: Don’t forget about us.” -walkwithamal.org-
By bringing Little Amal to different locations, “Walk with Amal” aims to create conversations, inspire empathy, and foster understanding and support for refugees. It seeks to highlight the resilience, hope, and potential of young refugees while addressing the challenges and systemic issues they face.
The project encourages communities to engage with Little Amal’s journey, participate in workshops, performances, and events, and collaborate on projects that promote inclusivity and support for refugees. It is a powerful initiative that utilizes art and creativity as a means to promote social change and advocate for the rights and dignity of displaced individuals.
Canada was the most recent country where Little Amal has been taken, searching for her mother and a new home. She visited Toronto for five days [June 7 to 11] as part of the 2023 Luminato Festival Toronto, in partnership with The Walk Productions. The impact has been enormous. The story of Little Amal inspired us and challenged our imagination. Little Amal gave us joy, made us shake our heads in amazement and we smiled and laughed. She touched our lives during her short but fruitful visit to Toronto, reminding us of the fragility of human life, of the horror and futility of war, and the struggles that many have to go through in their lives. Artistic expressions like this are intensely emotional. True art has the capacity of instilling in us profound feelings, it opens our minds causing us to ponder about current issues that affect our society. At the same time, true art also help us to be more understanding, be more compassionate and hopeful for a better future. After all, the human race is one, and we all are on this journey together.
YouTube Video – Walk With Amal Toronto
Photos by Taku Kumabe [www.takukumabe.com] Courtesy of Luminato Festival Toronto