Ai Weiwei poses as dead Syrian child in new artwork

Ai Weiwei recreated a famous photo of the drowned toddler Credit: Rohit Chawla / India Today / AP

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has recreated a photograph of a drowned Syrian toddler who died while trying to reach Europe.

Ai Weiwei, who is known for his politically charged art, recreated a picture showing the drowned two-year-old Alan Kurdi.

The photo was taken on the Greek island of Lesbos, which has become a hotspot for asylum seekers and migrants trying to enter Europe.

Ai Weiwei later said that he wanted to raise awareness of the desperate situation of thousands of families making the dangerous trip in smuggling boats ion the hope of escaping war and finding a better life.

"They are very brave people," he told a press conference.

Ai Weiwei helps an Afghan migrant arriving on a raft on the Greek island of Lesbos. Credit: Reuters

Ai Weiwei has also been helping some of those arriving on the island, which sees large numbers of refugees and migrants arriving on overcrowded and dangerous boats.

His picture has divided opinion, with some commentators on Twitter praising it as a powerful call for action and others condemning it as insensitive.