Yoko Ono, the avant-garde artist and widow of John Lennon, has been awarded the eighth Hiroshima Art Prize. This is awarded for her contributions to world peace through contemporary art. The Mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba stated the city will continue with its “Obamajority,” anti-nuclear weapons campaign, amid controversy over a recent U.S. subcritical nuclear test, the first under President Barack Obama. Ono released a comment through the city, saying, “The tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were created by humans by themselves, and the humans also have the wisdom to eliminate their root causes.” This was in reference to the 1945 atomic bombings of the two Japanese cities in World War II.
Established in 1989, the prize acknowledges the accomplishments of artists who have contributed to the peace of humanity, in the field of contemporary art. The ethos is that contemporary art aims to appeal to a wider world and spread the “spirit of Hiroshima.” This prize is awarded once every three years. Past recipients include Robert Rauschenberg Shirin Neshat, Issey Miyake, Cai Guo-Qiang, Leon Golub, Nancy Spero Krzysztof Wodiczko and the Architect Daniel Libeskind. An award ceremony is scheduled for July 2011 jointly with an exhibition commemorating the presentation of the award. Ono who is 77 years old and lives in the New York Apartment where Lennon was shot, is known for actively speaking out for peace and making speeches in support of the abolition of nuclear weapons. She attended the review conferences of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the United Nations in 2005 and has worked actively for the last 50 years supporting international peace causes.
About Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono has been active as a creative force for over a half century in various fields as an artist, filmmaker, poet, musician, performance artist and peace activist.
Born in Tokyo in 1933, Ono entered the Philosophy Department of Gakushuin University in 1952. The following year she moved to New York City where she studied music and poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. Soon after, she joined Fluxus, an avant-garde artistic group, where she presented experimental works of art blending forms such as poetry, music, visual arts, film and performance. In 1961, Ono started to exhibit works of art that took the forms of “instructions.” These works involved displaying a set of written “instructions,” with the objective of inviting the viewers to use their power of imagination and participate actively in the creation of the work of art. In this way, her “instructions” were pioneering works in conceptual art, one of the art trends that emerged from the 1960’s. Afterwards, Ono continued to create new forms of artistic expression that used diverse media and were not limited to strict specific genres.
In 2000, a large-scale retrospective exhibition of Ono’s work titled Yes Yoko Ono premiered at the Japan Society Gallery in New York City, and was subsequently travelled to numerous venues in North America. It was also presented in Japan with visits to the Hiroshima City