Little Amal arrives at JFK (photo: Abigail Montes)
Little Amal arrived in New York City September 14 to a musical welcome at JFK Airport led by the Met Orchestra and a children’s choir, kicking off 17 days of events across five boroughs in a uniquely ambitious art project billed as a “Traveling Festival of Art and Hope.”
Amal is a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl designed by Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse). She walks for millions of refugees and marginalized people roaming the world in search of safety, more than half of whom are children. She has traveled 5,000 miles across 12 countries—including, most recently, Ukraine—and been welcomed by mayors of capital cities, world-renowned artists, and also His Holiness Pope Francis, touching people deeply everywhere she goes. In New York City, she will embark on a 17-day journey in all 5 boroughs in search of her uncle Samir.
Arriving at JFK Terminal 4, Amal was greeted by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and its Children’s Chorus under the direction of Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
“As a young, unaccompanied minor arriving in NYC, Amal is excited and fearful,” said creative producer Yazmany Arboleda. “She comes to a city built by immigrants from all over the world, hoping to share stories of her journey through Europe and to learn about life here. We’re working with some of the city’s most innovative artists and diverse communities to create moments of welcome for an immigrant child. One beautiful example: Amal will plant a tree in El Jardin de la Esperanza, ‘a garden of hope’ in Corona Park, which is being created in collaboration with Mujeres en Movimiento and Micropolitan Studio, and will remain long after she has gone.”
The full schedule of Amal’s journey in New York can be found here. All events are free and open to the public.
Little Amal Walks NYC is a co-production of St. Ann’s Warehouse (Susan Feldman, Artistic Director) and The Walk Productions (David Lan, Tracey Seaward and Stephen Daldry, Producers). Karen Brooks Hopkins serves as executive producer. Amal is inspired by a character in Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s play The Jungle. The Walk 2021 was a co-production with Good Chance Theatre.