Major exhibition of Yoko Ono's works opening at Vancouver Art Gallery

·2 min read
John Lennon and Yoko Ono are flanked by journalists in Room 1742 of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in 1969. The couple spent two weeks in the hotel room in bed in a performance art protest to promote peace during the Vietnam War. This collaboration between the couple and others are part of a survey exhibition of Ono's works opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Oct. 9. (Jacques Bourdon/Le Journal de Montreal/Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - image credit)
John Lennon and Yoko Ono are flanked by journalists in Room 1742 of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in 1969. The couple spent two weeks in the hotel room in bed in a performance art protest to promote peace during the Vietnam War. This collaboration between the couple and others are part of a survey exhibition of Ono's works opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Oct. 9. (Jacques Bourdon/Le Journal de Montreal/Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - image credit)

Vancouverites can celebrate the late John Lennon's birthday this Saturday at the launch of a new art exhibition featuring collaborative works the Beatles star worked on with Yoko Ono, the world-renowned artist and love of his life.

Growing Freedom: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko opens Oct. 9 at the Vancouver Art Gallery and is a major survey exhibition celebrating the work of Ono, a conceptual and performance artist.

Organized into two parts, the first section invites viewers to participate in the creative process by following text instructions provided by Ono and, in a way, collaborate with her on some of her famed pieces.

This includes mending broken ceramics (Mend Piece,1966/2021), hammering nails into a canvas (Painting to Hammer a Nail, 1966/2021) and writing about their mothers on a sticky note and attaching it to the gallery wall (My Mommy is Beautiful, 2004/2021).

Galerie Lelong/Art Basel
Galerie Lelong/Art Basel

The second part of the show features collaborative work by Ono and Lennon on the subject of peace, including Bed-ins for Peace, which were filmed non-violent protests against war undertaken by the couple in 1969.

As the Vietnam War raged, the duo held two week-long performances where they sat in bed together. Derived from the idea of peaceful sit-in protests, the first was held in Amsterdam and the second in Montreal.

"The one thing that brought them together ... was to work for peace," said co-curator Cheryl Sim.

The exhibition is a dream come true for Sim, who contacted Ono with a written note in 2017 asking if the artist would be interested in having such a show staged in Vancouver. She was game.

"It's just all come together in a beautiful way," said Sim.

Two other installations connected to the exhibition include Arising and Water Event.

The former is an invitation from Ono to women to submit a picture of their eyes and a written testament about harm they have endured because of their gender.

The latter involves a number of local Indigenous artists invited by Ono to create a vessel that can hold water. According to Sim, Ono requested to work with these artists to reflect the significance of water to these communities.

Growing Freedom: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko runs until May 1.

COVID-19 safety protocols are in place including the need to book tickets in advance and wear a face mask when visiting the galley.

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