1770 Amal

Let’s all welcome Amal to Brussels

Michaël Bellon

In July, the little giantess Amal left the city of Gaziantep on the Turkish-Syrian border for an 8,000-kilometre journey through Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Germany and Belgium to arrive in Manchester in November. The 3.5 metre tall puppet, created by the South African Handspring Puppet Company, will be welcomed in Brussels on Wednesday 6 and 7 October with an extensive artistic programme.

For two days, you will be able to follow the giantess through Brussels and enjoy a programme in which Mahmoud Darwich Chair, Théâtre National, De Munt/La Monnaie, Cie Eastman of the choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Bozar, Circus Zonder Handen, P.A.R.T.S., Cultureghem, the Citizens' Platform for Refugees and various schools and associations are participating. Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi, who holds the Mahmoud Darwich Chair, named after the Palestinian poet, is coordinating the remarkable transit and artistic program for the two days.

“The Journey of Amal” has been conceptualised by Palestinian playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi and Good Chance Production with several many artistic projects around refugees to their name already. Amal is a Syrian giant girl in search of her mother, but she represents all displaced children. During her quest, she forges ties with local citizens and artists, and also meets politicians. She raises an issue, but also provides celebration and encounter, especially after Covid.”

Amal's journey through the streets and squares of Brussels begins on Wednesday 6 October at 2 pm on Muntplein/place de la Monnaie. Nedjma Hajj: “There, the Children's Choir of De Munt/La Monnaie is going to sing for her, for the public, for the attendees of the Citizens' Platform, the volunteers of all partners, the City of Brussels, the people of Good Chance...

From 2.30 pm onwards, the puppet will travel to the pedestrian zone, and via Fontainas, Anneessens, Porte d'Anderlecht/Anderlechtsepoort and Bergensesteenweg/chaussée de Mons to the Anderlecht slaughterhouses. All residents will be notified in advance with flyers to get as many people as possible to come out.” At the slaughterhouses, dancers and artists of Circus Zonder Handen will provide a spectacle at 5 pm. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is the artistic advisor of the circus. “We are of course working with Cultureghem to open the gates of the district to everyone while Brussels-based DJ Sara Dziri provides music.”

On Thursday at 11 am in Maximilian Park, Amal will receive a colourful umbrella made for her by 150 schoolchildren from Brussels. At 1 pm, the puppet will travel from the Pantsertroepensquare/square des Blindés back to the Muntplein/place de la Monnaie. “There, children will from 2 pm read out letters written to Amal by children in different languages. Among the attendants are politicians from the city and the European Union. The children are accompanied by poets Joy Slam, Carl Norac and Taha Adnan.

6 & 7/10, www.walkwithamal.org

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