2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture welcomes Amal, the nine-year-old refugee from Syria, the city’s coastal front, on Wednesday, September 1 at 19:30. After Chios, Ioannina, Trikala and Larissa, little Amal, the 3.5-meter-tall puppet, comes to Elefsina, to shed light on the stories of millions of displaced refugee children, many of whom have been separated from their families, and to send a message of hope, which is exactly what her name means in Arabic.
At the same time, from the 1st to the 30th of September, the Leonidas Kanellopoulos Cultural Center in Elefsina will host a Visual Arts Exhibition featuring the results of the educational program “One step forward,” with works from schools and structures from all across Greece, inspired from Amal’s Journey, the fruits of its educational program.
The message that nine-year-old Amal carries is “don’t forget about us.” Starting from Syria and crossing over to Europe, the young refugee girl is traveling in search of her mother across the land that stretches before her. She walks from country to country, meeting with the young and the old, always hoping that somewhere there will be a home for her, where she will be able to stay, grow up, get an education and build her own world.
How will Elefsina welcome Amal? This is, after all, a city which has, through the years, given shelter to many travelers, workers and refugees and that—according to Greek mythology—was witness to the reunion of another daughter with her mother, Persephone with the goddess Demeter.
In the magical city of Elefsina, a group of young people will welcome Amal with music and songs from different regions of the world, and with the wish that she reunites soon with her mother, they will offer her a unique gift: a skirt adorned with traditional amulets, small tokens of their friendship, to keep her safe on her long journey.
Little Amal’s skirt was created in the participatory design workshop, conducted by the LAIKART artistic group (Eirene Efstathiou, Iris Plaitakis, Maria Michou) in Elefsina, in collaboration with children, teenagers and adults, as part of the Walk’s educational programming.
The surprises, however, do not stop there. As Amal walks, she will hear a familiar, magical voice, the voice of Dimitra Galani. Her words and her music give Amal a message of peace and love that will accompany her on the next stops of her journey. Amal’s meeting with Dimitra Galani takes place on the occasion of the artist’s concert as part of the Aeschylia Festival, held in the emblematic space of the Old Olive Mill, by the Public Benefit Enterprise of the Municipality of Elefsina (KEDE).
On September 1st, the Leonidas Kanellopoulos Cultural Center in Elefsina inaugurates the visual arts exhibition featuring the results of the educational program “One step forward,” with works from schools and structures from all across Greece.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
“An Encounter in Elefsina” @19:30 We are walking at the Old Refreshment Area of the Elefsina Port Authority
Organization – Encouragement: Sofia Paschou, Erifili Stefanidou
Actors: Asimina Anastasopoulou, Eleni Zarafidou, Eleni Zachopoulou, Vasilis Kalfakis, Elena Marsidou, Eleni Moleski, Chara Tzoka
With the participation of the Polyphonica choir
With the collaboration of the following: 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, Aeschylia Festival, Patari Project, LAIKART artistic group, Polyphonica
Visual Arts Exhibition of the “WALK” featuring the results of the education program “One step forward”
Leonidas Kanellopoulos Cultural Center in Elefsina
Opening hours: 17:00 – 20:00.
On September 1st, the Leonidas Kanellopoulos Cultural Center in Elefsina inaugurates the visual arts exhibition featuring the results of the educational program “One step forward,” with works from schools and structures from all across Greece. The exhibition features photographs, visual arts productions, comics, 3D dolls, texts and videos, created by the children and teenagers who participated in the “WALK” during the school year. The projects’ theme concerns the movement of populations and the Journey of little Amal, conveying the children’s thoughts and feelings about these important social issues. The workshops were conducted by Unima Hellas, the Αthens Comics Library, the NGO AMAKA, Spiros Angelopoulos, and on the occasion of the Walk’s educational activity pack: https://www.walkwithamal.org/education/activity-pack/
Curation of “One step forward” Exhibition Material: Dafni Kalafati
Artistic Curation of the “One step forward” Exhibition: Spiros Angelopoulos
The following participate with children’s projects: Zitsa Kindergarten in Ioannina, 7th Primary School of Ioannina, 21st Primary School of Ioannina, Pedini High School in Ioannina, ASB Camp in Katsikas, ASB Camp in Agia Eleni, ASB Filipiada, The Tree of Knowledge (KDAP), Youth Center of Epirus, Krinitsa Kindergarten in Trikala, Grasshopper, 1st Primary School of Trikala, 16th Primary School of Trikala, 30th Primary School of Trikala, 33rd Primary School of Trikala, Marasleio School, Moraitis School, 1st High School of Markopoulo, 4th Primary School of Tavros, 4th Kindergarten of Agios Stefanos, 6th Kindergarten of Syros, Social EKAV, ARSIS LEDU non-formal education center in Leros, Kallimasia Primary School in Chios, Kallimasia High School in Chios, Agios Minas Primary School of Thymiana in Chios, METAdrash Chios, Theatrical Cultural Artistic Center “Poupoulo,” Department of Education and Preschool Education (TEEAPI) of the University of Patras, Special Vocational Education & Training Workshop of Kalamata, Kindergarten of Gefiroudi in Serres, Special Primary School of Serres, 43rd Primary School of Thessaloniki.
The educational program “One Step Forward” operates in parallel with the artistic activities of the WALK. Before, after and during her journey, little Amal brings young people together through creative learning projects, helping them build lifelong friendships with each other. In Greece, the works from all the educational programs that started in January 2021 are presented in three exhibitions, starting from August 27: at the D. Hatzis Cultural Venue in Ioannina, the Leonidas Kanellopoulos Cultural Center in Elefsina and the Hellenic Children’s Museum in Athens.
A few words about The WALK of little Amal
“The WALK” is an international and unprecedented Cultural Festival “in motion,” featuring artistic events, cinema, theater, dance, music, concerts, original art installations, educational programs and events, dedicated to all children who have been forced to leave their countries and redefine themselves from scratch.
Little Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, is, in fact, a large 3.5-meter-tall puppet. Her journey is long, 8,000 kilometers, as it started from the Syrian-Turkish borders and continued with stops in over 70 large and small cities in in Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany, finally terminating in Manchester, England.
The girl’s journey across the eight countries transcends borders, language and political beliefs. Its sole purpose is to unite the world, with the pure and simple concept of humanism. It is a unique event—truly rare in its kind—that is realized through the collaboration of many people, artists, workshops, groups and organizations in many different parts of Greece, with the aim of offering joy, support and hope. The contribution of all teachers/educators, children, teenagers and volunteers from all host cities is invaluable.
After saying goodbye to Elefsina, she will visit Athens on September 2, where she will stay for 2 whole days. In the big city, so as not to get lost, she will tie a yard thread to a lamp post, leaving a trail as she walks through the city. When she comes face to face with the mythical Minotaur, she will overcome her fears and befriend him, thus gaining courage for her next steps. On September 3, she will attend an outdoor installation featuring images of dreams or even nightmares from the place she left behind. She is seeking refuge, and finds it at her last stop in Piraeus, on September 4 and 5. The Theater opens its doors to her, offering a sweet lullaby. A thousand birds will bid her goodbye in the morning, wishing her the best for her long journey that continues to Italy.
The audience can follow The Walk and all events that will take place during the journey of Little Amal, via the Internet and Social Media, at www.walkwithamal.org/el.
Schedule of Little Amal’s Visits in Greece
Chios: August 9-10 | Ioannina: August 27-28 | Trikala: August 29 | Larisa: August 31 | Elefsina: September 1 | Athens: September 2-3 | Piraeus: September 4-5.
All events have free admission. All COVID-related health protocols are strictly adhered to, for the safe conduct of events.
The full program is available on The Walk’s website: http://www.walkwithamal.org/events/
The Walk is a production of Good Chance, Stephen Daldry, David Lan and Tracey Seaward in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company.
Artistic Direction: Amir Nizar Zuabi
Producer for Greece: Yolanda Markopoulou
Executive Production: POLYPLANITY Productions
Production Manager: Vicky Strataki
Technical Direction: Nikos Charalambidis
Head of Educational Program: Dafni Kalafati
Organization of Educational Program: Konstantina Georgiou
Translator: Menelaos Kyparissis
Head of Hospitality: Laura Spiliotakou
Communication Officers for Greece: MSCOMM, Elina Lazaridou
The entire program of The WALK is carried out under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.