In Sisimpur people from multiple regions, races, political beliefs and religions get along very well. But so far no one can tell us how to get to Sisimpur, we can only watch it on screen. As it turns out Sisimpur is Sesame Street in Bangladesh. And while we may have all guessed that Sesame Street was seen in other countries, it might have escaped us that rather than voiceover dubbing, the shows are actually tailored to each country. We have no idea what the Egyptian or Bangladeshi version of Big Bird looks like but we also hadn’t given much thought to the art of puppet-making until the Ed Christie appeared on the radar.
Though Christie is exhibiting his art in museums these days, he is famous for the numerous Emmy awards for designing puppets for Sesame Street and its international peers. Instead of embarking on a teaching career 30 years ago, he joined the Jim Henson Company and was soon building Muppets. Writers send him a script outlining the personality and culture of each Muppet and he designs accordingly. For the international Muppets, he must also consider that colors have meanings. In some cultures red is the color of happiness while white can be the color of mourning or peace.
Christie wants it known that he isn’t just a Muppet Man. He has other works that are still puppets but are completely different. While the Muppets are soft sculptures, his other puppets made from a resin, have a more sculpted look. It’s harder to put a personality on a hard sculpted face than on a soft cuddly creature. We had no idea. Meanwhile, Ed Christie likes to watch ants in a plastic ant-farm – to remind him that you’ve got to pay attention to the small things.
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