Yoko Ono Delivers "Peace Postcards" to Occupy Wall Street Protesters

© Yaelle Amir

"All we are saying is give peace a chance" was a familiar chant from the '60's and it's back, along with its promoter, Yoko Ono. Yoko created her conceptual artwork, Wish Tree, in 1981 and this month it was introduced in support of Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York -- although Yoko was there in spirit only. She was in warm sunny India, rather than freezing Zuccotti Park.

The way it works is that people tie pieces of paper with their wishes for peace onto a tree.

However, it wasn't so easy at Zuccotti Park where tying things to trees is not allowed. So instead, Yoko made 10,000 postcards.

The idea is that the art is in giving it as a gift. And the exchange between people is part of the conceptual art. So the cards were handed out to everyone at Occupy Wall Street.

© Yaelle Amir

As an organizer from Occupy With Art explained: "Ono's piece is a more true gesture in that it is self-confident enough to be just a short handwritten text. What can be simpler than a personal note? The fact they are meant to be given away ensures a discussion will take place about is origin, hopefully 10,000 times."

They read: "Make a wish. Write it down on a piece of paper. Fold it and tie it around a branch of a wish tree. Ask your friend to do the same. Keep wishing until the branches are covered with wishes."

As one activist said, upon receiving it: "I love it. I've been a peacemonger since the 1960s. Trees are very peaceful. They don't harm anyone -- unless they fall down. I like the message, it's spreading peace through peaceful actions. That's how Occupy Wall Street started."

The Imagine Peace Tower

picketty_witch via Flickr CC/CC BY 2.0

You have to give her credit; at 78 years old she is still going strong. The Wish Tree has been in museums and cultural centres around the world and they currently total over 1.4 million. They will be housed at the site of the Imagine Peace Tower.

She imagined and created it as a memorial to John Lennon. Located on an island near Reykjavík, Iceland, it consists of a tall "tower of light", projected from a white stone monument that has the words "Imagine Peace" carved into it in 24 languages. All of the wishes will be buried in capsules around the building.

Yoko explains the project: "As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always filled with people’s wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar.”

Tags: A Picture Is Worth | Artists | Occupy Wall Street