STORY AND PHOTO BY JASMINE VASARHELYI
Her vision inspired generations, her voice speaks when the fearful were silent, and it is her originality that has established Yoko Ono – Japanese-American artist and wife of the late John Lennon – as a legend in her own right.
This summer at Sydney’s Modern Contemporary Art Yoko’s exhibition War is over! (If you want it) is an intimate collection of all of her artworks, a documentation of her life and the way she has viewed the chaotic world since the revolutionary 1960s and 70s. The exhibition is a maze that maps her groundbreaking work from erotic sculptures to captivating installations, hand-written texts, short films and sound commentary. The public also has full access to participate in a collection of hands-on activities, repairing and arranging broken china, imprinting world maps with peace stamps and writing personal messages of love and peace to anyone in their life, placing the notes on the wall or hanging cards from the wishing tree.
Lennon once famously described Yoko as “the world’s most famous unknown artist”, even though at the time she was already an established artist. At her Sydney exhibition opening Yoko said: “John protected me and he did love my work, and there weren’t very [many] people then who loved my work.
“And he probably felt he had to take care of me.”
Now 81 years old, Yoko still travels extensively around the world, creating new platforms for herself as an individual and an artist. She summarises her philosophy on life simply: “Think peace, act peace, spread peace, Sydney.”
The exhibition will run until February 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George Street, Circular Quay. Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for adults, kids are free.