Ali Eisner, the creator and moving hand behind Kensington Market’s favourite talking yam puppet, Mamma Yamma, is closing up shop to create magic through a new kind of lens.
After a successful six-year run on Kids’ CBC, Eisner is busy with new creative projects, one of which will debut this January. The puppeteer, writer, musician, director and composer will add “photographer” to her roster with a debut exhibit entitled Favourite Things.
Images of nature, children, architecture, candid moments from her TV work and behind-the-scenes photos with musicians Serena Ryder, Ron Sexsmith and Feist all made the cut. “I didn’t love taking photography at school because I wanted to take pictures of things that hit me,” says Eisner, who’s experimented with the art form since she was a kid. She used her father’s camera until he gave her a Canon of her own and built a darkroom in her parents’ basement.
It seems that kid never really grew up. Eisner’s work captures life from a childlike perspective. “The way they see the world and the way they process things; what you see is what you get with them,” she says. Appreciating the “fun, fearless and goofy” side of life, Eisner is the kind of gal who still sits at the kids’ table at family gatherings.
“I feel like I get something with kids that I don’t get when I hang out with adults. [Kids] are so in the moment, not thinking about the past or the future,” she says. “Before a certain age, they are just naturally artists until they feel otherwise. To me, that’s a magic I want to keep alive in myself and tell their stories to the world.”