Yoko Ono’s art at the Nobel Peace Center

A message of peace from artist and activist

Photo: Matthew Placek
YOKO ONO – PEACE is POWER at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo is a participatory art exhibit by artist and peace activist Yoko Ono.

Nobel Peace Center

The exhibition YOKO ONO – PEACE is POWER opened at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo on Dec. 1. In the weeks before, the world-famous artist’s messages of peace lit up Norwegian cities.

For the first time since 2005, the world leading artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, is exhibiting in Norway. YOKO ONO – PEACE is POWER is a part of the center’s reopening after months of closure for renovations. The exhibition includes some of Yoko Ono’s most known participatory works, inviting visitors to engage in their creation by following the artist’s own instructions.

“For Yoko Ono, the message of peace, activism, and art go hand in hand,” said the Nobel Peace Center’s Executive Director Kjersti Fløgstad. “Her participatory art is completely in line with the Nobel Peace Center’s mission to inspire small- and large-scale changes that can help make the world a more peaceful place.”

Two weeks before the exhibition opened, from Nov. 13, a public peace campaign left its mark on cities across Norway. Large billboards in urban areas and subway stations were filled with messages of peace.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon first began public advertising campaigns for peace in 1969 with their iconic WAR IS OVER! (If you want it) campaign.

Yoko Ono has continued public campaigns for peace to this day. In March 2022, after the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, an IMAGINE PEACE campaign lit up billboards in the cities of New York, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Berlin, Rome, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Seoul.

The campaign in Norway is in a cooperation with the Nobel Peace Center, Yoko Ono’s studio, and Clear Channel and lasted for one week.

“The peace messages Yoko Ono and John Lennon formulated during the Vietnam War are, unfortunately, just as relevant today. We hope the campaign will engage the thousands of people who pass them on their way to work,” Fløgstad said.

At 90, Yoko Ono is opening not only the exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in December 2023, but also an exhibition at Tate Modern in London in February 2024. The exhibition YOKO ONO – PEACE is POWER is curated especially for the Nobel Peace Center, in cooperation with the former director of the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Gunnar B. Kvaran.

“Yoko Ono, who grew up in Tokyo, was 12 when the nuclear bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Her deep engagement for peace has permeated her more than 60-year-long career as artist and activist and makes her art fit extraordinary well in a place like the Nobel Peace Center,” said Kvaran.

About the Nobel Peace Center

The Nobel Peace Center, located in central Oslo, is the public face of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The center tells the stories of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates and their work through exhibitions, educational programs, guided tours, and digital content.

The center is also a meeting place for topical events and conferences related to peace, dialogue, and human rights. The Nobel Peace Center is located in an old train station from 1872, close to the Oslo City Hall and overlooking the harbor.

This article originally appeared in the December 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway