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Chinese Artist Brings Piano to Syrian Musician Stranded in Greece

  • VOA News

Syrian pianist Nour Alkhzam, center left, sits at the piano as Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, right, holds a plastic sheet, during a heavy rain at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, March 12, 2016.

Syrian pianist Nour Alkhzam, center left, sits at the piano as Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, right, holds a plastic sheet, during a heavy rain at the northern Greek border station of Idomeni, March 12, 2016.

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has brightened the life of a Syrian refugee who has been stranded in a muddy camp in Greece.

Ai placed a large white piano outside the camp on the Greek-Macedonian border so Syrian musician Nour Alkhzam could play for the first time in three years.

Ai and others held a plastic sheet over Alkhzam to protect her from the cold rain while she performed.

The fighting in Syria had kept her away from the instrument.

"It's been three years since I touched the piano," she said. "I have been feeling very nervous but feeling very good today to be able to put my hands on the piano again."

Alkhzam is one of thousands of Syrian refugees stuck in Greece after Macedonia closed its border. She is trying to get to Germany and reunite with her husband, whom she has not seen in 18 months.

Ai filmed the impromptu piano performance as part of his series of projects to show the world the misery refugees and migrants are going through as they try to escape war, poverty and terrorism.

He called Alkhzam's playing "life itself."

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei speaks to reporters as he holds a rain cover to protect Syrian musician Nour Alkhzam from the rain, after her performance in a field near a makeshift camp on the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Gree

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei speaks to reporters as he holds a rain cover to protect Syrian musician Nour Alkhzam from the rain, after her performance in a field near a makeshift camp on the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Gree

"I think it is very touching, what she did," he said. "It tells the world that art will overcome the war. The humanity, the people, the love for art and the understanding of art — human emotions will overcome the politics and the war."

Ai is among China's best known and most provocative modern artists because of his outspokenness and calls for protection of human rights and free speech in China and elsewhere.

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