Manchester International festival staged the finale event of The Walk on Wednesday evening, celebrating Little Amal’s epic 5,000 mile journey.
The puppet, which is 3.5m tall, has travelled through 65 European cities, towns and villages to shine a light on the plight of young migrants.
This extensive public art project is produced by Stephen Daldry, David Lan, Tracey Seaward and Naomi Webb for Good Chance, co-producers of the critically-acclaimed The Jungle, in association with Handspring Puppet Company, world-famous creators of the horse puppets in War Horse, and led by Good Chance’s Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi.
Little Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic was greeted by crowds of people. Her arrival was marked with a free large-scale outdoor event at Castlefield Bowl, titled ‘When the Birds Land’.
‘When the Birds Land’ has been created through collaboration with an advisory group created by Manchester International Festival, made up of adults who identify as refugees and asylum seekers and their allies.
Thousands of people have cheered her along the way and her entourage have taken part in concerts, parties and workshops.
Lucy Dusgate, 53, who works in the events industry said: “I thought the event was beautiful.
“I literally walked along Deansgate and came across it on Whitworth Street, just as I was walking down, and I literally got swept along with it. It was beautiful.
“I think Amal is about us keeping our eyes open and keeping our borders open. We clearly are not doing enough. Seeing something like this is an emotional thing to see but it does make us think about how welcoming are we now? Have we become more closed? Have we become less of a society, more judging of others?”
“Manchester is a great and diverse city, it’s constantly changing and has an influx of champions of people and the more people that make their home here the better.”
Fidaa, an asylum seeker from Palestine, believes the project plays an important role in raising awareness of asylum seekers and refugees - highlighting the reasons that they are fleeing their home countries.
She said: “When I first met Amal she made me feel like I wanted to cry because Amal represents every asylum seeker.”