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Yoko Ono returns to Montreal to give peace another chance with art exhibit


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(Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) Yoko Ono returned to Montreal on Tuesday to unveil an art exhibit celebrating the week 40 years ago she famously stayed in bed with her husband John Lennon in a hotel room high above downtown Montreal and sang about peace.

Ono was in the city for the anniversary of the 1969 bed-in, which is being marked by an exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, titled Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John & Yoko. The exhibit opens Thursday.

"Montreal means very much for me because it was a place where John and I created a very important statement," the 76-year-old artist told reporters at the museum on Tuesday.

"We didn't think it was going to be very important at the time.… John kept on doing the work until he passed away. I am still doing it."

John Lennon and Yoko Ono checked into Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel at midnight on May 26, 1969.

They settled into the corner suite rooms 1738,1740 and 1742 and over the following days spoke and sang about peace with visiting guests. The end of the bed-in was capped by a spontaneous recording of Give Peace a Chance.

The exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which runs until June 21, features more than 100 works of art, many from Ono's private collection.

They include drawings, unpublished photographs, videos and artworks tracing the couple's history from their meeting in 1966 to the bed-in three years later.

The show also examines the legacy of anthemic songs such as as 1971's Imagine, which visitors will be able to play on a white piano.

Visitors will also be able to write down their wishes and tie them to a "wish tree," stamp the words "imagine peace" on maps of the world, and read the works of some Nobel Peace Prize winners in a small library.

Ono said the exhibit renews their message of universal peace, a message that is still important today.

"I think of this world as people who want peace and people who want to solve problems with violence and war. I think by now, 99 per cent of the world's people very much are for world peace," said Ono. "There are so many of us, we are going to win."

The exhibit is free to the public. Ono said the gesture is an important one, given the message.

"Peace is for everybody. It isn't something that you have to sell," said Ono.


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I love the concept... but her display at Nuit Blanche Toronto was pretty week. It was a giant crane holding up a black n white sign that said "Imagine Peace" is block letters. Then there was some buttons they were giving out that said the same thing. There was another part of it which was writing your wish on a piece of paper and tying it to a tree - which was cute.

mostly I was disappointed... I hope this promises to be much more than that.

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