Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei assists refugees and migrants after their arrival from the Turkish coast to a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos, Jan. 28, 2016.
Mstyslav Chernov—AP
By Melissa Chan
February 1, 2016

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has recreated the shocking viral image of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian refugee lying lifeless on a Turkish beach for an art exhibition.

Ai was photographed last week posing as Alan Kurdi, who drowned last year while fleeing war-torn Syria with his family. The artist can be seen lying face down on a pebbled beach on the Greek island of Lesbos. His photo was taken by India Today magazine for an exhibition called “The Artists” at the India Art Fair, the Washington Post reports.

“It is an iconic image because it is very political, human and involves an incredibly important artist like Ai Weiwei,” Sandy Angus, co-owner of India Art Fair, told the Post. “The image is haunting and represents the whole immigration crisis and the hopelessness of the people who have tried to escape their pasts for a better future.”

Ai told the Guardian his experience with refugees has been “intense.” “I see thousands come daily, children, babies, pregnant women, old ladies, a young boy with one arm,” he said. “They come with nothing, barefoot, in such cold.”

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