A giant puppet of a Syrian refugee girl is returning to Birmingham to mark Refugee week.
It will be the first time that Little Amal, the 3.5m high puppet representing a nine-year-old from the Middle Eastern country which has been torn apart by brutal conflict, has visited the city centre.
She wowed the crowds in Erdington when she visited the high street in October as part of her epic three month journey across Europe.
Her visit to Birmingham city centre on Thursday, June 23, is part of her New Steps, New Friends tour to mark World Refugee Week running until Sunday June 27.
The free event will see Little Amal walk through the centre of Birmingham meeting different ‘families’ made up of relatives, friends and community groups from across Birmingham’s diverse population to celebrate everything Brummie!
The event will begin at 11.30am outside the Council House and will see Little Amal walk from Victoria Square, through Paradise to Centenary Square.
Each family group along the route will be posing for a special photo portrait featuring giant frames which will welcome Amal into each of their unique group photographs.
Who is Little Amal and why is she coming to Birmingham city centre?
Little Amal is a huge puppet representing a nine-year-old refugee girl from Syria, where a civil war has been raging for years.
It’s one year since she left Syria - and 5 weeks after her visit to Ukraine. Now she is marking World Refugee Week by visiting 11 towns and cities across England, including Birmingham, meeting old friends and making new ones - sharing a message of resilience and hope with anyone who has been forced to leave their homes.
She first arrived in the UK while she was doing The Walk in late July, setting off from Gaziantep in Turkey.
The huge public art project was put together by Good Chance, led by its artistic director Amir Nizar Zuabi, in collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company which is famed for creating and bringing to life the four-legged members of War Horse’s cast.
Little Amal has travelled from the Syrian border across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium in search of her mother.
In 65 villages, towns and cities along the way she has been welcomed by artists including dancers, singers, film makers and painters as well as civil society and faith leaders.
Her journey represents those taken by the millions of people who have been violently displaced by war or persecution, especially children, and urges the public not to forget about refugees and asylum seekers at a time of multiple conflicts around the globe.
Who has helped organise the Birmingham city centre event?
The Rep theatre in Chamberlain Square is producingLittle Amal’s first-ever visit to Birmingham city centre. Her visit is being supported by Birmingham City Council in partnership with Active Arts.
What else is happening for Refugee Week in Birmingham?
As a City of Sanctuary, Birmingham prides itself in welcoming refugees across the world - including those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Tonight (Monday, June 20) is World Refugee Day and the Library of Birmingham is being lit orange - the colour of the Refugee Flag - to show support.
There will also be a Healing Party at Centrala in Digbeth on Thursday which will feature a performance by the city council’s choir.
The theme for this year’s Refugee week is healing. The events across the week aim to celebrate the diversity, creativity and resilience of refugees.
There are a whole host of events happening across Birmingham all week, including a self portraits exhibition, solidarity walk, live music at Symphony Hall and the MAC and more. To see the full click here: Birmingham Refugee Week events
You can see details of Birmingham City Council’s Refugee and Migration team projects here
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