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Arts Initiative

Little Amal, symbol of human rights, heads to U-M

Jessica Jenks

Little Amal walking in Manchester Day Parade

ANN ARBOR—Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee child, will be making her way onto the University of Michigan campus as part of a 6,000-mile walk across the U.S. this week.

“This extraordinary event gives us an opportunity to think about how to engage meaningfully and ethically with experiences of disenfranchisement and displacement,” said Sara Blair, vice provost for academic and faculty affairs, and arts and humanities.

The Sept. 23 visit is produced by A2SF in partnership with the Arts Initiative, U-M Museum of Art, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the Ann Arbor District Library. The afternoon walk begins at 3:30 p.m. on the south side of N. University at Thayer Street. The evening walk begins at 7 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown. The events are open to the public.

“A2SF is thrilled to join the U-M Arts Initiative and our partners in welcoming Little Amal, an international symbol of human rights, to Ann Arbor,” said Mike Michelon, executive director of Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF).

Amal Walks Across America began in Boston Sept. 7 and ends in San Diego Nov. 5. Stops include Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Dearborn, Flint and Chicago. Over nine weeks, Amal will be welcomed by 1,500-plus artists at more than 100 artistic events across 37 towns and cities. 

The project was created by the British production companies The Walk Productions and Good Chance in collaboration with the South African Handspring Puppet Company.

Little Amal’s visit is just one of a range of programs offered as part of the Arts and Resistance theme semester sponsored by the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, U-M Museum of Art and U-M Arts Initiative. As part of a fall course called “Virtual Realities, Actual Worlds,” students will engage Amal Walks America to consider creative immersive experiences and their social and aesthetic impact.

The city of Ann Arbor awarded a Mayoral Proclamation from Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor earlier this month.