Yoko Ono (Japan)

Yoko Ono was born at 18th, February, 1933. She is a pioneer artist and well-known as the wife of one of the member of the legendary British band Beatles: John Lennon. She was often neglected as an artist promoting peace, love and anti-war but always become a gossip topic as John Lennon’s wife. People often talk about how Ono has broken up Beatles. However, what she has done for the world is just more than a gossip topic.


What made Yoko Ono famous was her great performing art: “Cut Piece”. This act has also led to the marriage between John Lennon and Ono. “Cut Piece” could be called as a performing act to show the discontent of Ono towards female violence and all kinds of repression to women from the patriarchy society. She decided to let the audience walk up to the stage and cut just a piece of her clothes and give it to the one they love. Ono tried to spread her thought through sacrificing her body. She initiated the act in Tokyo in 1964 then she performed again in 1966. John Lennon saw it and it provoked his anti-war idea. They soon married in 1969. In 2003, after 40 years of the first act, Ono performed “Cut Piece” again. However, she did not want to show anger at the time but she wanted to spread peace and love.


Artworks are often hard to let people understand and they always need to be interpreted to complete the meaning. In 1969, Oko and his husband created an exhibition, called “Bed-in”. This bed peace movement aims at promoting the ideas of anti-war. Oko couple thought of the slogan of “Make Love, No War!” They thought if everyone could lie on bed for one week (which is also the duration of the exhibition), then there will be no thoughts or desire of initiating wars. The exhibition has attracted many of John Lennon’s fans to visit, and the slogan has also become the slogan of anti-war. It was a successful artwork although it was quite hard to understand at the time. In 2003, there was also a pair of US couple mimicking Oko couple to perform the bed-in art, in order to oppose the war against Iraq. However, it seems that most of the credit of the peace movement was given to John Lennon, but not Yoko Ono.


Another significant artwork made by Yoko Ono is the building of Imagine Peace Tower in 2007, dedicated to John Lennon after his death. The Tower is a light tower located in Iceland. When time has come, the tower will emit a ray of white light right up to the sky, symbolizing the praying for hope. People’s wishes are allowed to put inside the tower and they will hope that their prayers for peace and anti-war message will be delivered to somewhere and eventually be achieved.


Yoko Ono, as an early feminist to a peace activist and artist, she has been doing herself from the day she decided to be an artist, but not only as the identity of John Lennon’s wife. Her artworks are sometimes regarded as bizarre and out of mainstream. But actually her message behind is simple: love and peace. She is now 83 years old, yet she continues to travel around the world to exhibit her newest artwork. How could an old lady have that passion? Besides carrying her husband’s legacy, she is just doing herself from the beginning, devotes her life to art, devotes her life to peace and love.


Yoko Ono performing Cut Piece (From: https://flavorwire.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/7_yokoono_cutpiece_19651.jpg)

Bed-in peace movement in 1969, with John Lennon (From: Wikipedia)

Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland (From: https://embodiedlivingblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/imagine-peace-tower-john-lennon-islande1.jpg)

Yoko Ono’s first exhibition in Beijing (From: http://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2015/11/14/22/YokoOno.jpg)

Yoko Ono, now in the age of 83, still striving for promoting peace and love to the whole world (From: http://factmag-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Yono081112.jpg)

















Written by Yip Pok Hei