Photo: Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain. March 2014. Photo: Erika Ede © Yoko Ono

This weekend a global chorus of voices will be calling for peace in five different cities across the world

IMAGINE PEACE is one of the peace messages from the world-renowned artist Yoko Ono. Imagine people in all corners of the world wishing for peace simultaneously. That is what will happen this weekend, as the interactive installation SPREAD PEACE: Wish Tree by Yoko Ono will be presented in five different locations on five continents at the same time: Eidsvoll’s Square in Oslo, Portland Japanese Garden in the U.S., Keihanna Commemorative Garden in Japan, Kokoro no Niwa in Chile and Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in South Africa.

Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center

Visitors are invited to write down their personal wishes for peace and tie them to a tree branch. Over time, the Wish Trees become adorned with these hopeful missives, evolving into a visual representation of the community’s collective aspirations for peace in our time. The wishes are preserved as part of the Ono installation IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Reykjavik, Iceland. Since the first Wish Tree was displayed in 1996, more than two million people across the world have shared their wishes for peace on a Wish Tree.

The global Wish Tree installation expands on the YOKO ONO: PEACE is POWER exhibition showing at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway.The exhibition, made possible through generous funding from Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden, invites the audience to engage in the creation of the artworks through Yoko Ono’s own instructions.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “War is Over! If you want it” billboard campaign, Times Square, 1969. © Yoko Ono Lennon

For Yoko Ono, art and activism have always walked hand-in-hand. She started campaigning for peace together with John Lennon just after their marriage in 1969. Right before Christmas, with the Vietnam war as backdrop, they orchestrated a worldwide propagation of the peace message “War is over – if you want it” on large billboards in 12 big cities across the world. Since then, Yoko Ono’s art has been shown all over the world, both in museums and in public spaces.

At the Nobel Peace Center, the museum for the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, the exhibition YOKO ONO: PEACE is POWER is showing throughout the summer.

This weekend, while the branches of the Wish Trees are being filled with people’s wishes for peace, the main street of Oslo will be ornated by Yoko Ono’s messages: “THINK PEACE – ACT PEACE – SPREAD PEACE – IMAGINE PEACE”. Today, as we are surrounded by devastating wars and suffering, 91-year-old Ono’s messages of peace seem more relevant than ever.