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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Inspire me, India: Yoko Ono

Damini Purkayastha, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 25, 2011
First Published: 15:54 IST(25/12/2011) | Last Updated: 15:56 IST(25/12/2011)

Yoko Ono is Delhi-bound. The avant-garde artist, best known as the wife of late Beatles legend John Lennon, will be in the Capital in January to introduce India to her art.

The 78-year-old, who is a singer, bestselling author, pioneering artist and keen activist, says she’s looking forward to being “inspired” by the land. “The visit in the past was just to appreciate and enjoy India’s land and culture; this time I am coming for encouragement and inspiration,” she says in an interview from New York.

Besides the much talked about visit of the Beatles to India in 1968, Ono and Lennon had also visited the country together. “(After) the  famous visit he made with his three friends, John and I later visited India just by ourselves, and loved it,” she says.

Her exhibition, Our Beautiful Daughters, hosted by the Vadehra Art Gallery, opens on January 13 and Ono will also perform live on January 15 at the India Habitat Centre. “I will be doing music as well. I am hoping that I can do it with Indian musicians,” she adds.

Last year, her band, the Plastic Ono Band, formed in 1969 while Lennon was alive, performed with artistes like Lady Gaga, Scissor Sisters, Eric Clapton and others. Ono says she’s now a great admirer of pop idol Gaga. “She’s incredible. She is somebody who is giving strong energy, encouragement and inspiration to the world in her own way.”

An active user of Twitter, Ono has 1,747,304 followers, and often talks about peace and art on her handle. “Twitter is haiku in action, and not as monologue, but as dialogue. I think it’s great,” she says. One area she is yet to discover is Indian cinema. But she says she’s aware of how important it is. “I know that it is a very active department in Indian culture. Just as we learnt a lot of things from Hollywood films for ages, I think the world will learn many things from Indian films about truth, justice and freedom.”

Yoko through the years
* Born: 1933, Tokyo, Japan
* 1964: First performance of her iconic work ‘Cut Piece’ at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo, and her book Grapefruit is published
* 1964 and 1972: Makes films like the famous No. 4
* 1966: Meets John Lennon (He was married then)
* 1969: She and Lennon get married (he was her third husband)
* 1980: Records her final music album, Starpeace
* 1994: Produces her own musical, New York Rock
* 2009: Receives a Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale

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