Lennon's sister calls for Yoko's 'offensive' art to be torn down

A provocative work of conceptual art by Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, has been branded "offensive" by the half-sister of the former Beatle.

The controversial work, entitled My Mummy Was Beautiful, features images of a woman's breast and crotch. The posters, which are dedicated to Lennon's mother, are on display on buildings across Liverpool as part of the Biennial art festival in the city.

Julia Baird, Lennon's half-sister, has complained the work is disrespectful to her mother, who died in a car crash aged 44.

Ono said it was initially about her own mother, but chose to dedicate it to Lennon's when it was decided to display it in the ex-Beatle's home town. "I remembered how John loved his mother, and it choked me up," she said.

Mrs Baird has urged the festival organisers to remove the posters, which are displayed on a church and a nearby street popular with shoppers. The posters that have caused most offence to Mrs Baird are displayed at St Luke's Church, which is soon to be inaugurated as a peace centre. The centre wanted to mark the event by displaying works by Ono, a prominent peace activist.

But, Mrs Baird said: "I find it totally offensive that you can use images of a breast and a vagina displayed all over the city, and then make the implied link with my mother. I have nothing against Yoko Ono as she was simply commissioned to do the work. The same images are on display at the Tate Gallery (in Liverpool's Albert Dock) and I don't have a problem with that, but the others I find upsetting and I would like to see them removed."

As one of the most original performance and installation artists of the 1960s, Ono is also viewed as one of the founders of conceptual art. Her ability to shock came to the fore in her film Bottoms, which showed the naked bottoms of people walking, while last year she was stripped to her underwear on a Paris stage by members of the audience as part her show Cut Piece.

Lewis Biggs, Liverpool Biennial chief executive, said Ono's work had been requested by St Luke's Church, which had made her one of its patrons, and would remain in place until the end of the festival on 28 November.

"I had no intention of offending anybody," said Mr Biggs, "but equally it has been very well received by some people who have found it has provoked thoughts of their relationships with their own mothers."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee