Two Sunday’s ago, I took the kids to the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) to see Jehetto’s Workshop– a unique puppet show created by Pennsylvania artist Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins. The event was part of the DIA’s Black History Month celebration.
The night before our visit, I had told Zhen, Zechariah, and Zephaniah we were going to spend the afternoon in Detroit and go see a fun puppet show.
Naturally, they were super excited about it, but what they didn’t know was Jeghetto’s puppets were unlike any puppets they had ever seen!
We arrived at the DIA thirty minutes early, something that’s almost unheard of for us because we usually run late for things. I was happy we arrived at the art museum early because we were able to find good seats near the front of the stage.
After about 15 minutes, the kids started to get antsy. Thankfully, I remembered to pack one of our old cellphones that we let the kids use to play games and watch videos. The kids took turns playing games on the PBS Kids app and that held their attention until it was time for the puppet show to begin.
Once the puppet show got started, my little ones couldn’t take their eyes off of the stage. They were amazed at Jeghetto’s magical puppets!
An Interactive Puppet Show
Using recycled materials for his puppet art, Jeghetto creates one-of-a-kind puppets, such as a robot built from wood blocks and plastic pipes (PVC pipes) and a majestic eagle with wings made of duct tape.
You may recognize some of his work from Missy Elliott’s music video “WTF (Where They From)”. Parish built some of the puppets in the video and he controlled Pharell’s puppet. He has also worked on the Amazon Echo commercial featuring Missy Elliott and Alec Baldwin as puppets.
As Jeghetto introduced each puppet, he’d walk around the Rivera Court to give the audience a closer look at his creations. Children giggled, squealed, and gasped when the puppeteer came near them to show off each extraordinary puppet.
My children, however, were pretty much speechless the entire time! They were in awe of Jeghetto’s puppet creations. Michala, who also tagged along to help me out, thought the puppets were cool and kept snapping photos of each one featured in the puppet show.
All of a sudden, a large-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex puppet slowly crept out onto the stage. Zephaniah gasped and his eyes got really big. He was a little scared of the dinosaur, and next thing I knew, Zephaniah quickly hopped onto my lap.
“Mommy! Look! Dinosaur!” he whispered to me while tightly holding onto my arms. I gave him a gentle squeeze and reassured him everything was okay. “It’s okay. It’s just a puppet– a puppet dinosaur.”
Discovering Jeghetto’s Magical Puppets
After the puppet show, Jeghetto let all of the children play with his puppets and discover how to make them move. I think this was my favorite part of the event because I enjoyed seeing Zhen, Zechariah, and Zephaniah play with the puppets.
It’s been almost two weeks since we attended Jeghetto’s Workshop and the kids still talk about it. They ask to see the pictures I took and to watch the videos I recorded of the puppets. It is definitely a magical experience they will never forget!
Special Note: Tarin “Jeghetto” Parish is based in Pennsylvania so as far as I know, there will not be another Detroit puppet show coming up soon. Visit Parish’s website to learn more about his work and any upcoming shows that he may have scheduled in other areas.
MORE PHOTOS FROM JEGHETTO’S WORKSHOP
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All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.