Guide to SKOPJE

Yoko, Lennon, Tito


A peculiar conceptual artist, a legendary musician and a statesman, all of them belonging to different cultures, are part of a story that presents the idea of peace as a universal idea. The story of pacifist art action “Acorns”, carried out by Yoko Ono and John Lennon, is once again being told at an exhibition in Uzice, Serbia.

In 1968, after John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married, they mailed two acorns and an accompanying letter to 50 world leaders. Yoko’s idea was for them to plant the pairs of acorns and, when the oak trees grow up, to have two living sculptures of peace. It all happened during a period in Lennon’s career when he turned to promoting world peace – says Sava Stepanov, art critic and author of the exhibition.

“The pair of acorns arrived at Josip Broz Tito’s address. Being a pragmatic man, he gave order that the acorns are planted in the garden of his residence, and today there are two oak trees standing there. The story is interesting because it was one of Yoko’s artistic actions which had a global impact because it was carried out around the world. There were several other actions by Yoko and Lennon in 1969 and one of the most important of them was the “War is over (if you want it)” Christmas greeting.”

The exhibition in Uzice is composed of several parts. The first one is dedicated to the acorns action and the other actions Yoko and Lennon undertook to promote peace. The second part is dedicated to Yoko’s works of art which she created to mark the 40th anniversary of the event. It is a series of graphic artworks entitled “100 acorns by Yoko Ono”. The third part is dedicated to photographs by Josip Broz who was an amateur photographer. The 1960s were an interesting decade. Tito used to speak against abstract art and he was obviously not in favour of the new artistic tendencies and expressions. However, he also showed a different sensibility, a political one, when he did something rather unusual for the politics he advocated, the policy of peace. – says Stepanov.

The exhibition will be open until December 27th at the City Cultural Centre (former Army Centre) in Uzice. It was first set up in 2010 at the Art Expo in Novi Sad and since then the exhibition has been set up in Belgrade, several other cities in Serbia, in Slovenia and Italy.