Yoko Ono artwork set to be displayed in Glasgow as part of the International Festival of Visual Art

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Glasgow Women’s Library has announced Peace Arbour, an indoor and outdoor exhibition of work by Yoko Ono and Reiko Goto Collins as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2024

A new, temporary orchard is due to open next month at Glasgow Women’s Library in the Bridgeton area of the city. This space, which will be open to the public during library hours, will offer a space for people to acknowledge grief and imagine peaceful futures.

At the orchard, Glasgow based artist Reiko Goto Collins has created a fruit tree nursery and a space to gather for discussion, learning and reflection. Working with local communities, Goto Collins evokes the powerful capacity that trees have to affect both ourselves and our threatened environment. 

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At the heart of this orchard, Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree, 1996/2024 creates a focal point for people to express their wishes, hopes, and needs. Visitors are invited to write personal wishes and tie them to a branch of the tree. 

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“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. From a distance, the wishes looked like white flowers blossoming.”

All of the wishes are returned to Ono and continue on in connection with her IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, a 2007 installation in Reykjavík, Iceland, dedicated to the memory of her late husband John Lennon. Since creating her first Wish Tree installation in 1996, Ono has collected almost two million wishes from over 200 trees in over 35 countries. 

This is only the second Yoko Ono Wish Tree to be planted in Scotland, the first being in Edinburgh in 1998. Past locations have included New York City, Washington DC, San Francisco, Tokyo, Paris, London and Buenos Aires. 

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During Glasgow International, between the 7 and 23 June, the orchard will be activated by a series of performances and discussions by Goto Collins and the team at Glasgow Women’s Library. These events will be programmed in harmony with changing daylight conditions, from sunrise gatherings to conversations at dusk - the differences in time and light reflecting Reiko’s interactions with trees. 

Within this outdoor space of hope, artworks by Yoko Ono addressing different scales of violence and pathways towards peace preside over the orchard. A flag designed by Ono bearing the words THINK PEACE, ACT PEACE, SPREAD PEACE, IMAGINE PEACE adorns the exterior of the building, acting as an important reminder to centre peace, care, and collectivity within our communities on a local, national, and international level.

Inside the library a new iteration of Yoko’s work Arising will be exhibited with archival objects that demonstrate the endurance of peace practices. Yoko Ono’s participation speaks to the library’s intention to honour the long trajectory of feminist artists, advocating Peace is Power. Reiko Goto’s arbour will remain as a space for the library’s community, neighbours and visitors. 

Glasgow Women’s Library has announced Peace Arbour, an indoor and outdoor exhibition of work by Yoko Ono and Reiko Goto Collins as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2024Glasgow Women’s Library has announced Peace Arbour, an indoor and outdoor exhibition of work by Yoko Ono and Reiko Goto Collins as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2024
Glasgow Women’s Library has announced Peace Arbour, an indoor and outdoor exhibition of work by Yoko Ono and Reiko Goto Collins as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2024 | AFP via Getty Images

Adele Patrick, Co-Director of Glasgow Women’s Library said; We are thrilled to have two remarkable artists contributing to our GI 2024 programme. We are painfully aware that this festival takes place at a time of febrile politics, widespread trauma and conflict between atomised and alienated communities and an existential climate emergency. Yoko Ono’s prescient contributions to the discourses of peace, feminism and nature will be speaking powerfully to these themes offering up a message of power, inside our space, on the façade of our building and within our new garden space.

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GWL’s Peace Arbour offers the opportunity for people within our communities and who may be visiting throughout the festival to experience healing encounters with trees and space to connect and convene. The garden and a series of linked performances that will take place within it have been commissioned by GWL from Reiko Goto Collins, an artist who designs spaces for reflection, dialogue and action and whose performances connect people with other living organisms in unforgettable empathetic exchanges. 

Peace Arbour launches at 7am on Friday 7 June 2024 with a performance in the orchard. The exhibition runs from 7 June - 31 August 2024. The exhibition is open during normal business hours. 

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