Donovan Zimmerman of Paperhand Puppet Intervention: “A New Paradigm”

Part of our “Art and Artists are Essential” collection and invitation.

Donovan Zimmerman is the founder and director of Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a collective of artists who create giant puppet creatures, large mask characters, various costumes, painted flats, stilted figures, shadow puppets and much more. Twenty years into their professional careers in North Carolina, Zimmerman and the Paperhand Puppet Intervention have worked and performed at Duke as well as institutions like the North Carolina Museum of Art, NC Symphony, Morehead Planetarium, and others.

During this time, Zimmerman wanted to share the Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s show from last summer in 2019 titled We Are Here saying:

“We are releasing it to the public on Earth Day and when I saw this [invitation] I thought it could be a nice way to reach more folks with our environmental justice themes as well as solidarity with our fellow humans across the planet. It has strong messages of connectedness and solidarity in a disconnected time. It provides some hope and whimsy as well as stirs the viewer into action toward making the world a better place.”

He also offered the following advice to fellow artists:

“Stay strong in your resolve. We are still here and we will rise again as artists and creators into a new paradigm of real equity, social justice, and profound positive transformation.”

Learn more about the Paperhand Puppet Intervention here.

Paperhand exists to celebrate and speak on behalf of the earth. “We Are Here” tells the story of a forest haven with a venerable oak tree at its heart. As the seasons change, squirrels squabble and foxes tango under the oak. In a time of crisis, all the woodland creatures unite to defend their forest home from greedy developers. “We are here!” they cry! Later in the show, a buzzing metropolis is in peril by monsters accidentally created by the ignorance and avarice of modern man. A heartwarming shadow show is the final piece. It reminds us how dependent we are on trees, and what they breathe out, we breathe in.