Created by a South African company, the giant puppet called ‘Little Amal’ was seen strolling around New York’s boroughs recently.
A 3.66-metre tall puppet called ‘Little Amal’ took a little walk around Times Square on Friday, 16 September, says SA People. Representing a 10-year-old Syrian refugee searching for her mom who disappeared after she went in search of food, Little Amal aims to raise awareness of the plight of displaced children looking for safety across borders.
The puppet’s journey started in South Africa with the Handspring Puppet Company in Muizenberg, Cape Town, and she has already trekked her way through Europe, now arriving in the United States to visit New York’s five boroughs.
‘Little Amal’ was created by the Cape Town-based Handspring Puppet Company, by founders Adrian Koehler and Basil Jones, who actually came out of retirement to create the puppet, one of the most ambitious and important public artworks ever attempted, says SA People.
“We didn’t know what we were building,” Kohler said, adding that large walking puppets were usually supported by cranes, but this time, a puppeteer would be inside the puppet, on stilts, carrying most of the weight.
Three versions of ‘Little Amal’ were created for the public art project called “The Walk”, and a dozen puppet operators have taken turns across her long journey. Her body is made from moulded cane and her head, arms and legs are carbon fibre.
Little Amal is operated by three people, a puppeteer on stilts inside her bamboo frame controlling her facial expressions, along with two puppeteers moving her arms, with a small computer operating her eyes.