The Rope of Hope is on display in the gardens to mark the visit of Little Amal to Wentworth Castle Gardens, Barnsley on 30 October 2021.

Little Amal is a 3.5 metre-tall puppet of a young Syrian refugee child, the star of ‘The Walk’.  Over the summer and autumn of 2021, she walked over 8,000km across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees. Little Amal represents the thousands of children who, just like her, have fled war and persecution and need access to education and essential support to rebuild their lives.

Maryam Samaan created the Rope of Hope as part of the Lands of Exile Artists Programme. This features acclaimed Syrian artists who create works that reflect on exile – physical or emotional - inviting audiences to think about what we mean by ‘home’. The art installations and performances are sited across Europe as part of The Walk, a travelling festival of art and hope in support of refugees by Good Chance, Handspring Puppet Company and Amir Nizer Zuabi.



Maryam Samaan

Born in 1984 in Damascus, Syria, Maryam Samaan is a scenographer and visual artist graduated from scenography studies in the Institute of Dramatic Art of Damascus, Syria, and fine arts and design from the European Superior School of Art of Bretagne (EESAB) in Rennes, France. She holds a master degree in theatrical studies from the Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 University. Produced and directed a number of theatre plays and puppet shows in Lebanon and France between 2017 and 2021; "The other I'', "One hand-puppet and ''Rupture" among others, as well as conducting numerous workshops between refugee camps in Lebanon, Greece and France.   

Khaled Al Warea

Khaled (1988) ِis a Syrian Architect and multidisciplinary artist based in Paris. He is the co-founder of UV LAB design studio, where he conceptualises and creates site specific sculptures and installations.

Through the alias KhAl his creative practice focuses on visual art via photography, video art, scenography, performance and multimedia installations, concerned with themes of sexuality, individuality, and freedom of expression.

Photograph of Khaled Al Warea. He is holding a rope over his shoulder and smiling at the camera, wearing a green coat

Mike Shnsho

Mike Shnsho (1989) is a Syrian architect, creative, and DJ based in Istanbul. He is the co-founder of UV LAB ; a design studio that specialises in creating site-specific sculptures and installations, alongside architectural scenography for music festivals using natural and up-cycled materials. UV LAB succeeded in placing projects in different countries throughout Europe, Middle-east and South Asia.

In addition, SHNSHO is a DJ and music producer, he is considered one of the early Syrian artists who delved into Psychedelic Trance music, performing in many music festivals and venues globally. Furthermore, he organised multiple Psy Trance events and festivals in Lebanon and Turkey, helping the scene to grow and have its place in the international Psy Trance community.

Photograph of Mike Shnsho smiling at the camera. He is wearing a woolly hat and standing beside a tree with the rope attached to it

Rachel Chapman

Drawn to edges and borders I am lucky to have been able to meander through a diversity of landscapes and territories through my work, sometimes physically, other times through words, pictures, objects or sounds. I have become immersed in the human narratives of the places I explore, of migration, habitation, ecology, politics, co-operation, sharing stories and finding ways to encourage critical debate. I have created projects in collaboration with people from many different discipline backgrounds, especially biology and botany, in places such as UAE, Chile, New Zealand and Australia. In the UK I recently co-led Telling Our Stories, a project working with Journalism students and newly arrived residents in Coventry, coming from Syria and Iraq, to record and make their stories heard. My current focus is on establishing a place for artists, especially those displaced from their homelands, to be able to spend short periods of time working uninterrupted on creative projects and ideas in Yorkshire.


Photograph of Rachel Chapman smiling at the camera wearing a black and red scarf

Samaan has collaborated with communities across Europe to weave objects onto the rope that reflect Amal's impressions and memories during her journey. Inspired by Wentworth Castle Gardens, the Barnsley Museum’s Feels Like Home group welcomed Little Amal on her arrival at the garden through poetry, dance and song, sharing their experiences of journey and belonging. They also contributed objects to the rope which mark their own experiences.

“The Rope is a summary of the universe Amal discovers and remembers throughout the journey, a concept of a symbolic border between the child and the mother, between the past and the future. It symbolizes the path that Amal will take, with all its intensity and all the momentum of events that refugee children challenge on their way to safety and stability.”

Maryam Samaan 

Rope of Hope

On her journey across Europe, Amal's sole motivation against the hardships remains the hope of meeting her mother and returning with her one day home. Amal's hope stretches towards on the road to safety, as she uses all she can find that reminds her of her childhood, her mother, homeland and time to reconstruct her umbilical cord, reconnecting her to her mother and the world.

And like the heroes of animated films, like the "little thumbling", Amal will chart the course of her journey as she bravely advances into the unknown; she will weave a rope of her memories, experiences and impressions of the peoples and places she encounters, to trace of her way back to where all started, to her motherland.

The rope is a summary of the universe Amal discovers and remembers throughout the journey, a concept of a symbolic border between the child and the mother, between the past and the future. It symbolizes the path that Amal will take, with all its intensity and all the momentum of events that refugee children challenge on their way to safety and stability.

From city to city, from adventure to another, Amal gathers many new memories around her and weaves them into a long rope that allows her to find the way back as she throws it to plot the paths that will lead her to her mother, as well as the way back to her starting point.

The rope for her is the magic that allows her to find her way back, she throws it and it draws her paths that lead her to her home, her starting point.

The project is an artistic installation of a wide range of objects that symbolise the memories, the places, the events and the people Amal encounters along the path of refuge and hope on a rope 800 meters long (1/100,000 to the actual route that Amal will take - 80 thousand km).

The objects/used collectibles may be items collected by Amal on her way or by refugees and that reminding them of their own experiences; natural or industrial/manufactured items, pictures, sounds or even smells that document important stages of the journey with their own voice, image and scent.

I will weave those objects that reflect Amal's impressions and memories during her journey, onto a rope that documents her experience through the road, its events and steps, each manifested on the rope through the density and symbolism of objects and their proximite from the beginning and the end.

حبل الأمل 

في رحلتها عبر أوروبا تحلم أمل بلقاء أمها والعودة، تعيد أمل بناء حبل السرة الذي يربطها بأمها والعالم والوجود.
كأبطال األفالم المتحركة، كعقلة االصبع، سترسم أمل مسار رحلتها بينما تسير قدما بشجاعة نحو المجهول؛ لتحيك الذكريات،
التجارب وانطباعاتها عن الشعوب واألماكن التي تصادفها عبر الطريق، حبل سرة يعيد وصلها بأمها، أثر تتبعه إلى طريق العودة
حيث انطلقت، إلى وطنها األم.
الحبل هو تلخيص للزمان والمكان الذي يستهلكه الطريق الذي ستسلكه أمل بكل كثافته، و زخم األحداث التي يتحداها األطفال
الالجئون في رحلتهم المليئة باألخطار والمصاعب. من مدينة إلى أخرى، ومن مغامرة إلى أخرى، تجمع أمل الكثير من الذكريات
الجديدة من حولها وتحيكها في حبل طويل يسمح لها بإيجاد طريق العودة، تلقي به فيرسم لها المسارات التي ستقودها إلى أمها، وتلك
التي ستعود بها إلى بالدها، إلى نقطة انطالقها.
المشروع هو انستاليشن فني لمقتنيات رمزية لألماكن واألحداث، طريق اللجوء واألمل على حبل طوله ٨٠٠ متر )بنسبة
000.100/1 للطريق الفعلي الذي ستسلكه أمل -٨٠ ألف كيلو متر(
للمقتنيات المستخدمة أن تكون أغراض تجمعها أمل في طريقها أو جمعها الجئون تذكرهم بتجاربهم الخاصة، أن تكون عناصر
طبيعية أو صناعية/مصنعة، صور أو أصوات أو روائح توثق أهم مراحل الرحلة بصوتها، صورتها ورائحتها.
سأقوم بنسج مجموعة كبيرة من العناصر التي تجمع انطباعات وذكريات أمل خالل رحلتها؛ إلنتاج حبل يلخص تجربتها عبر
الطريق واألحداث وأهم المحطات التي تعكسها كثافة الحبل باألغراض وتموضعها على الحبل.

A rope woven with coloured pieces of material and a yellow teddy

I am Jasmine

(PDF, 52.7 KB)

A poem by Helan Ismail

Download file - I am Jasmine

Barnsley’s ‘Feels Like Home’ group has over 100 members, representing all age groups and many nationalities from across the world. The group embeds language skills with cultural activities, offering opportunities to build relationships and friendships.

Here you can watch a short film about how the 'Feels Like Home' group were involved in the project by film maker Mubarak Elamin

Little Amal comes to Wentworth Castle Gardens - Blog