Yoko Ono: honoured in Dublin
by The Irish Times
Yoko Ono spoke of her late husband John Lennon’s love of Ireland yesterday as she received her lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the worlds of art, music and campaigning, writes Aishling Phelan.
‘‘John, who sometimes considered himself 100 per cent Irish, would have loved to see me honoured in this way by the city he loved,” she said at Dublin’s Mansion House. “When he was born, his mother was English and his father was Irish and he didn’t have too much opportunity to see his father, so he had this yearning for being Irish. In a way it was sad because he was always talking about that, you know.”
The Japanese artist and peace activist was honoured as part of the Dublin Biennial Pop-Up contemporary art exhibition that is running in the Point Village until Sunday next.
Her Wish Tree for Ireland has been at the heart of the exhibition. The wishes of 55 artists will be sent to The Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland where a column of more than a million wishes now feature.
Lennon ‘considered himself Irish’
Yoko Ono has revealed her late Beatle husband considered himself Irish.
She told how John Lennon loved Dublin as she received a lifetime achievement award in the Irish capital for her art and peace activism.
The award, a traditional Irish bogwood sculpture by Kieran Higgins, was presented by Dublin Biennial, an independent pop-up
“I am very honoured to return to Dublin to be part of the first ever Dublin Biennial and to receive this lifetime achievement award,” said 79-year-old Yoko. “John, who sometimes considered himself 100% Irish, would have loved to see me honoured in this way by the city he loved.”
Ono, an avant-garde artist, rose to fame in the 1960s when she got into a relationship with and married Lennon.
An interactive installation by her – Wish Tree for Ireland – has become one of the main attractions at the inaugural Dublin Biennial Pop-Up art exhibition at the Point Village, running until Sunday.
The 8ft tall living maple acer tree is positioned against a white background with the Yoko Imagine Peace insignia.
The work asks viewers to make a wish, write it down on a piece of paper, fold it and tie it around a branch of a Wish Tree, until the branches are covered with wishes. It will be transferred to the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland as part of her 1,000,000 wishes project.
Maggie Magee, of Dublin Biennial, said Yoko’s art and activism invite everyone to hope and to wish and to dream of the world as a more beautiful place. “We are honoured to commemorate her Lifetime of Achievement, in recognition of the integrity of her artistic imagination, the dignity of her achievements and the bravery of her dreams,” she added.
Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague said he was privileged to present Yoko with the award at the Mansion House. “Her achievements in the worlds of art, music and as a peace activist make her an inspiration to us all,” he added. “Dublin is proud to be honouring her as part of the inaugural Dublin Biennial.”
Yoko Ono was in Dublin today to receive her lifetime achievement award at the inaugural Dublin Biennial exhibition. Here she is with five-year-old Ashlee Byrne from Blanchardstown:
John and I had special connection to Ireland, says Yoko
By Allison Bray, Independent Woman
YOKO Ono last night revealed her special affinity with Ireland — the spiritual home of her late husband John Lennon.
Speaking during a visit to her ‘Wish Tree for Ireland’ art installation at the inaugural Dublin Biennial Exhibition at the Point Village, the 79-year-old conceptual artist revealed there is “a special connection between Ireland and me”.
“My husband was 100% Irish. That’s what he used to say,” she said.
Ireland also holds special memories for her of when John first invited her to visit here as his wife-to-be, back in the 1960s, she added. “Ireland was sort of like an auntie or a mother that he wanted to show me,” she said.
Yoko said she was honoured after being given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Dublin Biennial Exhibition yesterday to recognise her accomplishments in the worlds of art, music and as a peace activist.
“John would have loved to see me honoured in this way by the city he loved,” she said, of her late husband who was assassinated by Mark Chapman in New York in 1980.
Earlier, a traditional Irish bogwood sculpture by Kieran Higgins was presented to Yoko at a ceremony at Dublin’s Mansion House.
Yoko was later presented a peace lily by brave leukemia survivor Ashlee Byrne (5) as an ambassador for the Make A Wish Foundation charity.
The junior infants pupil from the Sacred Heart School in Huntstown, Dublin, was the first person to adorn Yoko’s installation with a simple handwritten wish “to give people that have no food some food”.
Yoko hugged the little girl as they both flashed peace signs after she placed her own special wish “to the people of Ireland” on the eight-foot high maple acer tree.
“I wish the people of Ireland to have seven fortunes and eight treasures,” she said of her take on a Japanese proverb.
The installation aims to collect a million handwritten wishes that will be exhibited later at the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland.
Yoko Ono receives a lifetime achievement award in Dublin
Yoko gets her Irish up
By Irish Voice Reporters, Irish Central
Yoko Ono certainly made the most of the couple of days she spent in Dublin last week. She was in the city to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Dublin Biennial Exhibition, where she showcased one of her art installations called “Wish Tree for Ireland.”
John Lennon’s widow spoke movingly of her husband’s love for his ancestral home. She also made it her business to learn more about Irish Famine emigrants, and visited the grave of the famous Irish political leader Daniel O’Connell for whom O’Connell Street in Dublin is named.
“John, who sometimes considered himself 100% Irish, would have loved to see me honored in this way by the city he loved,” she said. Ono, 79, also said that “there is a special connection between Ireland and me.”
Her first trip to Ireland was back in the sixties, before she became Lennon’s wife. “Ireland was sort of like an auntie or mother that he wanted to show me,” she recalled.
On Friday morning she visited the crypt of O’Connell at Glasnevin Cemetery on her way to the airport and received a private tour. She was full of questions about O’Connell, according to reports, and left a large bouquet of flowers as a remembrance. She even used Instagram to tweet a photo of herself at the cemetery to her more than two million Twitter followers.
“I am praying for the soul of Daniel O’Connell. May he rest in peace. May his life history be told to us all and add to our energy of activism,” she noted.
“She said that she would love to have some more time and would return for a longer visit the next time she was in town,” Glasnevin Cemetery historian Shane MacThomais said. “Her interest in Irish history was inspiring and her humanity was evident in her responses.”
Ono’s quest to learn more about Irish struggles also took her out to sea, where she posted an Instagram photo of herself in Dun Laoghaire, at the ferries on their way to England.
“I wanted to know how they felt when they took the ferry from here to Liverpool, during the Famine, leaving their country to go to where they would have food to eat,” Ono posted on her Instagram.
“Some Irish people died before getting on the ferry, some died on the ferry. Those who made it to Liverpool were not welcomed with open arms . . . if you are Irish or half-Irish, you should visit here one day, and have kind thoughts for the one who couldn’t make it.”
There’s no denying that Ono is an extremely interesting woman, even though some Beatles fans may never forgive her for allegedly causing the breakup of the band.