Yoko Ono

imagine peace tower inauguration


The AIU report by Sari Gurney

I had a truly magical time in Iceland with my friend Jorge on October 9th 2007.

Press conference

At 1 pm a press conference was held at the Reykjavik Art Museum. Of course Jorge and I were there among journalists (especially Japan was well represented, starting with Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK), along with John&Yoko photographers Allan Tannenbaum and Bob Gruen, and Ritchie Yorke.

The museum representative was very strict about the meaning of the press conference, that it was about peace and Imagine Peace Tower, and the Q&A concentrated entirely on these subjects. Yoko seemed a bit nervous in the beginning but soon relaxed and smiled a lot. Yoko was asked if John would have liked the idea of Imagine Peace Tower, and Yoko was convinced that John loves the idea. Yoko was also asked if other Imagine Peace Towers will be erected elsewhere in the future, and I understood from Yoko's reply that this Icelandic monument was intended to be one of the kind, unique.

Videy island

At 6.30 pm the ferry was about to leave for the island of Videy located close to the harbour of Reykjavik. The guests and journalists travelled to the very windy and cold island, but despite the weather, people were in a good mood and clearly excited to be there. There was a feeling of togetherness when we walked past the white flags of Nutopia, heading towards the Imagine Peace Tower site on the island.

Reykjavik's Children's Choir performed several songs in Icelandic, the last of them being, of cource, John Lennon's Imagine. After the choir performance, Yoko made her ceremony speech.

Then Ringo Starr and Olivia Harrison joined Yoko on the stage, Ringo making his customary jokes, and all of them making ONOCHORD messages (i ii iii = I love you) with their small flashlights.

After this warm moment, the island fell silent when the Imagine Peace Tower was lit. Lennon's Imagine started playing in the darkness, as the nine lights lit one by one, sending a tower of light towards the skies. People were singing Imagine together with John. It was a deeply touching moment.


At the reception by the mayor of Reykjavik at the Reykjavik Art Museum songs by Yoko Ono (Mind Train, Kurushi...) were being played in the background while the guests mingled. Yoko made a very brief appearance at the reception, making a speech, and then quickly disappearing behind the curtains with Ringo and Olivia. Sean Lennon and Kyoko were among the reception guests, freely mingling.

All guests received a black bag at the door, with the Imagine Peace text in different languages printed in white. Inside the bag were an Imagine Peace cap (also black with white printing), a book (a special printing of Give Peace A Chance by Yoko Ono and John Lennon by Bakhåll) and the most special present of all, a white hand-made box with Imagine Peace texts carved on it, with a metal key inside: "A key to open the skies. Y.O. 2007". This piece was created especially for the ceremony guests.

Thank you Yoko for this amazing experience, and thank you all Citizens of Nutopia for making the day so beautiful.


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.

Our exclusive photos from Iceland

Press conference
Imagine Peace Tower ceremony

General photos from Reykjavik and Iceland by Sari Gurney

Photos from the Icelandic press

"Imagine Peace—A Ray of Light in Dark Times", by Amy Goodman
The Associated Press
Liverpool Echo

General information

Imagine Peace Tower press release
Three speeches made by Yoko Ono on October 9th 2006 in Iceland




Iceland guest pass
The guest pass with ONOCHORD flashlight

© Sari Gurney
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