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Yoko Ono's tribute to Indian women: Straight from the art!

Last updated on: January 20, 2012 12:10 IST

Yoko Ono's tribute to Indian women: Straight from the art!

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Yoko Ono was described by her husband -- the Beatles icon John Lennon -- as 'the world's most famous unknown artist'.

When the couple last visited India in 1968, they never left their Mumbai hotel suite for five days, not even letting the cleaners in. Clearly, they were the talk of the town. More than four decades on, Ono is back in India for her first art exhibition here and she continues to have the same effect.

It's difficult to be a passive observer when you come face to face with Yoko Ono's art. It demands that you get involved. And New Delhi did when the conceptual artist and activist made her India debut, January 13, with an exhibition titled Our Beautiful Daughters.

"Each one of us is a being sent to earth to bring peace and happiness for all," said Ono, who returned to India for the first time after her husband John Lennon's death. "Let's have a clear vision about this. And know that this is the time to heal the world with women power. We can do it, and we will."

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Image: Yoko Ono performs at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on January 15
Photographs: Briana Blasko

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All seven exhibits at Ono's show, which runs through March 10, called for participation. The Remember Us installation laid out casts of dismembered women's bodies that were covered at the end of the day with cloth embroidered by Indian artisans.


Image: Ono puts up the Remember Us installation at New Delhi's Vadhera Art Gallery. She painted the words 'I am uncursed' in different languages on one wall
Photographs: Briana Blasko
Tags: Yoko Ono

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Yoko Ono's tribute to Indian women: Straight from the art!

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Ono also worked with Indian artisans on the Heal Together installation -- a slashed canvas laced with traditional embroidery that invited visitors to sew things together. The artisans from Bikaner belonged to Rang Sutra, a self-help group for craftswomen.


Image: Ono's Heal Together installation at the Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
Photographs: Briana Blasko

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Yoko Ono's tribute to Indian women: Straight from the art!

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Mend Piece put forth broken pieces of crockery that demand to be glued back together, while the legendary My Mommy is Beautiful exhibit offered blank canvases for visitors to put up dedications to their mothers. "The art work is definitely inspired by emotion... and an incredible respect for Indian women," Yoko Ono said. 


Image: Visitors try their hand at Mend Piece
Photographs: Briana Blasko
Tags: Yoko Ono

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Yoko Ono's tribute to Indian women: Straight from the art!

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Ono also brought her Wish Tree to India. The installation that has appeared in many countries is inspired by the artist's childhood experiences of attaching a paper with a wish written on it to a tree in a temple in Japan. She said, "Wish Tree is my hit song, if you can call it that way."


Image: Ono and her Wish Tree. The wishes from trees at various venues in the capital will be added to the wishes that will be sent to the Imagine Peace tower, a memorial for Lennon created by Ono in 2007 on the isle of Videy, Iceland
Photographs: Briana Blasko
Tags: Yoko Ono , India , Japan

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Yoko Ono's tribute to Indian women: Straight from the art!

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As part of the exhibition, Ono performed at the India Habitat Center in the capital. "Each performance show is different depending on who is there and what feeling I get from the audience," she said before the event.


Image: Ono's Remember Us installation
Photographs: Briana Blasko
Tags: Yoko Ono , India

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Ono said, "I did not bring anything to India apart from myself. This visit will be a great learning experience... This beautiful very, very grand land will teach me."

With her India show, she said, she wanted to extend her campaign for world peace. She said, "Society is getting madder and madder. I am talking to women who know about this and many, many intelligent men, too, who are starting to know about this... It is for us to make use of everybody's energy to create a better world."

Apart from a series of public art projects co-organised by Vadhera Art Gallery and the Japan Foundation, a parallel exhibition, The Seeds, will showcase Ono's earlier work -- films, music, and collaborations with Lennon and other artists.


Image: Ono performs at the India Habitat Center
Photographs: Briana Blasko

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