Artist poses like drowned Syrian boy as a statement

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Artist poses like drowned Syrian boy as a statement

NEW DELHI - Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has recreated the famous image of a 3-year-old Syrian child who drowned in Turkey last year by staging a photo of himself lying face down on a beach in Greece.

The photograph triggered international outrage as people saw the helpless toddler as the devastating human face of the refugee crisis.

Ai posed last week on a pebbly beach on Lesbos island for the picture for one of India’s largest English-language news magazines, India Today.

Rohit Chawla, the magazine’s photographer and visual director, traveled to Lesbos to take the picture. The photograph was displayed at an art fair in New Delhi over the weekend and many visitors took pictures of it.

Ai has set up a studio on Lesbos where he is working on several projects with refugee-related themes. Lesbos is the main entry point for refugees seeking a better life in Europe.

Ai said last Thursday that he had decided to withdraw his works from two Danish museums out of deep anger at a new law allowing Denmark to seize valuables from migrants.

Ai said he wanted to give a “clear statement’’ on what he considered an absurd law.

Ai told The Associated Press that the project will last “at least a year.’’ The studio will produce several projects with refugee-related themes.

He said he wants to be “part of the daily experience’’ and rescue of thousands of refugees crossing the stormy Aegean Sea from Turkey to Lesbos.

On Thursday, he joined with NGO staff helping migrants who had just arrived at a beach in inflatable rubber boats, lending a hand and chatting to people heading to buses waiting to take them to a camp.

He also visited Lesbos last month and has said he expects to go there several times over the next year if the crisis persists. About six to 10 artists, students of his, will be working at the studio.


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