Little‌ ‌Amal‌ ‌Meets‌ ‌Storm‌ ‌In‌ ‌Glasgow‌ ‌

22 11 2021

Photo: Getty Images

Created by the South African Handspring Puppet Company based in Cape Town, and operated by three puppeteers at a time, the ten year old Syrian refugee puppet Little Amal stands at an impressive 3.5 metres (nearly 12 feet tall). Having started her journey on July 27th from Turkey, and since then has travelled almost 5,000 miles across Greece, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and France, she arrived in Glasgow on November 11th.

Gliding gracefully and swiftly through the streets, Little Amal is a totem of displaced people across the globe, arriving in an uncertain terrain, unsure how to survive. Making her way to Glasgow on Gender Day is hugely significant, as she is symbolic not just of displacement of the empowerment of girls and women. At the COP 26 Green Zone, she is met by female speakers, including Samoan climate activist Briana Fruean and Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Amal delivers seeds and an open letter signed by 1.8 million people worldwide, with calls for urgent emission cuts.

Her arrival in Scotland is met with absolute excitement and squeals of delight by one hundred children from Glasgow and Perthshire schools, all of whom created capes which became banners of hope for the future of the planet. It's a touching scene to witness, children reacting to the puppet as if she were real, high fiving and shaking her hand. Her meeting with Storm, the giant goddess of the sea, created using recycled materials by Vision Mechanics, is also a poignant sight. They meet at the art installation 'NO NEW WORLDS' at the old Graving Docks before parading through Govan. Storm embraces Little Amal like a little sister, a gesture of love and multiculturalism,  a vision for a positive future where everyone can feel safe.

Lorna Irvine