Ai Weiwei Brings White Grand Piano To Muddy Greek Refugee Camp

Anya Wassenberg

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei brought music to Syrian migrants in a muddy Greek refugee camp with the temporary installation of a white grand piano. A contemporary artist and political dissident in his native China, Ai Weiwei has been visiting the Idomeni refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian border where he has spoken out against the wretched conditions.

After four days of rain, the makeshift Greek refugee camp has become a muddy field, but it did not deter Ai Weiwei, who helped to carry the white grand piano over the muck. Ai Weiwei was also one of several people who held a plastic sheet over the head of migrant Nour Al Khzam as she played. Formerly of the Syrian city of Deirez Zor, Nour Al Khzam had given up playing the instrument three years ago because of Syria's civil war. She played for about 20 minutes.

"This is our attempt to create an opportunity for this lady."
"It's just in the rain, in the cold, and women, children, all the people waiting for some bread, or some dry clothes, and this is a very sad situation and people have no hope because the door is closed, totally shut off...I think this is a huge, big violation of human rights, right in front of us."

Ai Weiwei's current visit to the Greek refugee camp and the grand piano event are the latest in a series of art projects that Ai hopes will lead to greater recognition of the plight of the Syrian migrants currently languishing in such camps.

"We want to reveal a new image of them, to relay possibility, art and imagination. This is the image that needs to be relayed to the world."

Ai Weiwei has run afoul of authorities in his native China in the past for his outspoken views, including a brief imprisonment in 2011.

[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]