Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei set up a white grand piano in the muddy, rain-drenched refugee Idomeni camp on the Greek-Macedonian border Saturday, allowing 24 year-old Nour Alkhzam, a refugee from the city Deirez Zor, Syria, to play it.
The young woman is currently trying to get to Germany where her husband has been living for 18 months.
Ai Weiwei told journalists that she had been studying piano but had to stop because of the war in Syria.
“This is our attempt to create an opportunity for this lady,” Ai said at the end of the impromptu performance.
“She has been victimized by these wars. She has not had the chance to touch a piano in three years. She and her husband have been separated for one-and-a-half years.”
Watching her play was “very touching. It tells the world that art will overcome the war. 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,” he told reporters.
Greek authorities estimate that 12,000 people are stuck at the camp at Idomeni, but thousands more are camped out in fields nearby, waiting in vain for the border to reopen so they can continue their journey north.
Macedonia and several other countries on the migrant trail have sealed their borders over recent weeks, leaving the Greek government to struggle with a huge bottleneck of people stuck on its territory and forced to camp in increasing squalor.
Ai, a thorn in the side of China’s Communist authorities, has repeatedly spoken out in support of refugees and denounced European politicians’ handling of the crisis.
Last month, he draped thousands of lifejackets discarded by migrants arriving in Greece around the columns of Berlin’s Konzerthaus concert hall.
And in January, the artist closed down an exhibition of his work in Copenhagen in protest after lawmakers passed a controversial bill allowing authorities to seize valuables from asylum seekers.