Puppet Protest Commemorates January 9th Chemical Leak

Jan 10, 2015

Marcus Fioravante
Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A protest featuring giant puppets was held in front of the Kanawha County Public Library yesterday, commemorating the January 9th chemical spill one year ago.

A local art group called the Vandalia Collective performed the ten minute puppet show in front of the Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston. The protest featured giant handmade puppets re-telling the story of the chemical leak just one year ago.

The various puppets played the characters of Mother Earth, the elements; water, fire, earth, and air, as well as puppets representing Freedom Industries, the coal company, and the chemical, MCHM.

“Puppetry is a very long-standing tradition in America and in Europe," said Marcus Fioravante, the organizer of the event and puppeteer, "You know, you think about like Punch and Judy shows, and stuff like that. You know, it’s street art, it’s street performance, and that has existed, you know long before there was TV, and long before there was anything else, there was street art. And to me, it is a wonderful breath of life into activism, and I feel like you know, you can’t ignore a big puppet as much as you can ignore a person with a sign.”

Fioravante says the Vandalia Collective will perform the puppet show again next weekend, January 17th at 2:00pm in front of the Capitol complex in Charleston.