Another step forward
World-famous Syrian refugee puppet Little Amal treks through San Antonio
One of the world's most famous traveling art projects has chosen San Antonio as her next destination.
Little Amal — who is actually quite big, standing at 12 feet tall — has become well-known wandering around as a Syrian refugee, constituting a project called "The Walk." It's not just her size that catches people's eyes, but the way she moves. The puppet is taking "walk stops" in an 11,000-mile journey across the United States and Mexico. She has been traveling since 2021, when she made her debut at the Syrian-Turkish border.
The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture, Office of the Immigration Liaison, and more local organizations will receive the puppet on October 21, and she will depart the next day.
“We’re proud to partner with such incredible local organizations to spread Amal’s message of hope,” said Department of Arts & Culture executive director Krystal Jones. “Her journey shows how art can be a tool for understanding and spark conversations on difficult subjects.”
The subject in question is displaced children — something that weighs even more heavily on the global conscience right now as multiple conflicts dominate headlines. UNESCO estimated this summer that, "By the end of 2022, a record 43.3 million children lived in forced displacement ... many of them for their entire childhood." That number included around 3 million Ukrainian children, and was counted before this October's sudden displacement of 1.1 million people living the Gaza Strip, as reported by the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Of course, San Antonio has another stark angle to consider: the impact of crossings at the Texas-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border protection has counted 123,541 encounters with unaccompanied or "single" minors at the Southwestern border this year through August.
Although Amal will represent something a little different to everyone, there are ways to come together and participate in her visit as a community, according to a news release:
- October 21: Auntie’s Shopping List — Community members help Amal find items on her San Antonio Aunties' shopping list. Held at the House of Prayer Lutheran Church in partnership with Culturingua, NEISD Welcome Center and The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
- October 21: Dreaming of Lights — Amal experiences the magic at the Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival in partnership with Luminaria and URBAN-15.
- October 22: Who Am I? — Amal joins other children in creating posters that reflect their individual identities in partnership with The DoSeum and Lions Field Park.
- October 22: A House to Call My Own — Amal looks for a house that fits her in partnership with artists Ashley Mireles and Anthony Rundblade, with support from the San Antonio River Foundation, San Antonio Area Foundation, and District 3 City Council Office.
Community members are also invited to donate to the Amal Fund with Choose Love, which provides displaced children with necessities like food, shelter, and legal support.
More information about Little Amal’s Walk Across America is available at walkwithamal.org.