Little Amal dances with the children performing, as photographed on Oct. 5, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Nikita Rohila)
Little Amal dances with the children performing, as photographed on Oct. 5, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Nikita Rohila)
Nikita Rohila

IN PHOTOS: Little Amal visits Centennial Park

Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall puppet of a child Syrian refugee, visits Centennial Park as part of her two-month mission in the United States.

Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian Refugee, visited Centennial Park in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 5 starting at 5 p.m. CDT with the mission of inspiring hope in children fleeing war, persecution, genocide and violence.

The ongoing war in Syria has left many without homes and searching for refuge in other countries. This move from home and uncertainty about the future can be especially unsettling for children with no grasp of the future.

As a symbol of human rights and freedom, Little Amal was designed by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa — a company founded by Artistic Director Adrian Kohler and Executive Producer Basil Jones in Cape Town, South Africa. Since Sept. 7, Little Amal has been traveling across the United States on her 6,000-mile journey to 40 cities. Nashville, Tenn. was the 20th stop on her journey.

The Amal Walks Across America tour is produced by The Walk Productions, a not-for-profit company founded by David Lan and Tracey Seaweed to bring communities together to rethink narratives and motivate change. They imagined Amal as a performance art project to celebrate human migration and bring awareness to children refugees searching for a home.

Little Amal’s journey to more than 100 events across the United States was notably described as one of the country’s largest public art festivals due to its clear impact on young people and mass circulation in the media. The puppet’s walks are meant to unite communities and highlight the importance of offering immediate resources and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.

As Little Amal visited Centennial Park, numerous adults and children followed the puppeteer as she strolled around the park and shook many people’s hands. The celebration also consisted of performances choreographed by Thea Jones and Shabaz Ujima and performed by children while the audience cheered on. At the end of the performance, participants gathered around Little Amal and thanked her for creating a path full of hope for future generations.

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About the Contributors
Salma Elhandaoui
Salma Elhandaoui, Staff Writer and Photographer
Salma Elhandaoui (‘27) is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and is majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health and society and minoring in environmental and sustainability studies in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her playing the guitar, writing endless poems, curating strange Spotify playlists and exploring the virtual world. She can be reached at [email protected].
Nikita Rohila
Nikita Rohila, Senior Staff Photographer
Nikita Rohila ('25) is from a small town in Arkansas and is majoring in psychology and medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Deputy Social Media Director. During her free time, she enjoys roaming around the city and getting cinematic-style shots for her photography account! You can reach her at [email protected].
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