Yoko Ono

wishing in yoko ono's art

"Keep wishing while you participate"

Yoko Ono: "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."

The Wish Tree has been a part of many exhibitions by Yoko Ono since the 1990s. People are invited to write their wish on a piece of paper and hang it to a tree branch. It's like a collective prayer in a way. Some wishes are deeply personal, some global wishes for peace and better future for humankind.

Yoko Ono: "All my works are a form of wishing. Keep wishing while you participate."

Yoko Ono has used different kinds of trees at different exhibition venues, to fit the particular venue's nature.

Wish Tree

A powerful light obelisk full of wishes in Iceland

Imagine Peace Tower is an illuminated column, constructed over a base with a radius of about 10 meters, and it will be filled with messages of wishes from more than 900 000 people that have been collected so far (information according to The Japan Times, October 2006). Imagine Peace Tower will be lit for two months each year starting on John Lennon's birthday.

Please e-mail you wishes to Imagine Peace Tower through this address: wish@imaginepeace.com

In the interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist (2002)

Yoko Ono "When they did it in Finland (Have You Seen The Horizon Lately, 1999) they said one tree was not enough. Because the wish was becoming much larger than one tree. They added so many trees it became like a mini-forest. You suddenly see very strong emotions of people coming out. It is fantastic. I'm keeping all the wishes from all the countries, although I never read any of them. I feel it's not right to read people's private wishes."

arrow Read the full interview

Wish Piece by Yoko Ono (1996)

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 friends to do the same
Keep wishing
Until the branches are covered with wishes

More information

The Helsinki Wish Tree event (2005)


Wish Tree

© Sari Gurney
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