THURSDAY, JUNE 21: John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono said that she hoped peace and love would grow in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens as a result of her late husband being honoured there.
She was speaking via a video greet at the official opening of the Imagine the Art of John Lennon exhibition at the Masterworks Museum, and the unveiling of the tributary sculpture by Graham Foster in the Botanical Gardens grounds today.
Wearing her trademark fedora and sunshades she said: “I am pleased that John is being honoured in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. It is where he discovered the Double Fantasy freesia flower which became the title of his last album. I know that he loved and was immensely inspired by Bermuda.
“His spirit is now a part of the beautiful Botanical Gardens where I hope peace and love will grow. I love you.”
Curator of the John Lennon Archives Lynne Clifford, who works with Yoko Ono, came to the island especially for the opening. She revealed: “The first day I started working for Yoko I walked into my office in Dakota and there was a magnificent painting of John and Sean (his son) sitting on a rock with the bay with beautiful clouds... Yoko said John had it painted for her from when he was in Bermuda and she started to cry — she said it was so full of love. I want you all to be surrounded by that love.”
Among the other guests at the opening were Premier Paula Cox and Minister Wayne Furbert.
The Imagine exhibition featured a selection of original lithographs from Lennon’s Bag One Portfolio — a collection of prints published and hand signed by the artist in 1970.
The sculpture, located in the courtyard in front of Masterworks, features iconic Lennon imagery including his stylized profile with glasses, his Rickenbacker guitar, doves and freesias to highlight the Bermuda connection.
The statue, weighing in at 2,000lbs, is made of Core-ten steel — a type of weathering steel suitable for Bermuda’s climate. It was funded by private donors — members of Masterworks.
Right after the unveiling Mr Foster told the Bermuda Sun: “It’s a sense of relief that’s for sure!”
Masterworks founder and director Tom Butterfield thanked Tony Brannon and Michael Freisenbruch for “reigniting the idea” of celebrating John Lennon here in Bermuda.
An EP sampler of four songs from the John Lennon Bermuda Tribute CD put together by Freisenbruch and Brannon Media was also released at the event.
These events precede a tribute concert on September 21 — The International Day Of Peace. Local artists will join international reggae star Maxi Priest for an evening of music to celebrate the life of John Lennon.