Little Amal - a giant puppet of a nine year old refugee child, created to represent the thousands of displaced child refugees across the world and to highlight their plight, has been welcomed to Dover in White Cliffs Country with an illuminated lantern procession.
It followed Little Amal’s earlier arrival into the UK in Folkestone and formed the next stage of her journey from the Turkish border with Syria all the way to Manchester, which began for Amal in the summer and which, once completed, will have seen her travel 8000km on foot.
Children, families and residents of Dover gathered in Pencester Gardens on the evening of 20th October to greet Amal with handmade star lanterns, which they had created at dedicated artistic workshops organized by Dover’s Future Foundry ahead of the event. The lantern procession, called “Light Guides The Way”, led Amal on foot from Pencester Gardens to Dover Castle and to a new lighthouse, created by Syrian artist duo UV Lab (based in Turkey and Paris).
During the evening the lighthouse - against the backdrop of Dover Castle, the site of one of the world’s oldest remaining Roman lighthouses – became illuminated as it was strung with the handmade star lanterns. This illuminated high point helped Amal to see the horizon and so understand where her journey would take her next.
Light Guides The Way: a lantern procession led Little Amal to Dover Castle
The welcoming event in Dover was part of The Walk, an international arts festival and endurance event. In July 2021, Little Amal began her journey to travel through eight countries, from the Turkish/Syrian border to Manchester, to shine a light on the stories of millions of child refugees. Each city, town and village that Little Amal has travelled through has been welcoming her with fantastic cultural events staged by local artists. As Little Amal journeys through a series of artistic and cultural events, created and performed by the communities she visits, these acts of welcome collectively form the huge living public artwork which is The Walk.
The Dover project was kindly supported by Good Chance Theatre, UV Lab, Dover Samphire Project, English Heritage, Destination Dover, Dover Town Council, Dover District Council, Dover Community Association and Dover Rotary Club.