Whoever made Taylor Swift New York City’s ambassador needs a reality check — the transplanted pop star may be topping charts every day, but her relationship to the Big Apple is nothing when compared to John Lennon. A large tapestry depicting Manhattan as a Yellow Submarine with Lennon as the pilot was unveiled yesterday at Ellis Island. Yoko Ono and Bono joined the celebration to declare July 29 John Lennon Day, a holiday of peace. The piece was commissioned by Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey to thank Ono on behalf of human rights group Amnesty International, a group that raised more than $5 million in royalties from covers of John Lennon’s post-Beatles music. Ono said the artwork was exactly the way the band member would’ve wanted it. “John knew how urgent [peace] was,” she said.
The tapestry celebrates not only Lennon’s influence in pop culture but honors the 40th anniversary of Lennon acquiring his green card and being granted U.S. citizenship. The Liverpool-born star attended several deportation hearings in 1970 and was initially denied citizenship, until that was overturned in 1975.”John had to fight to get here,” Ono said. “John had to fight to actually be accepted here.”
The commemorative art piece, designed by New York-based Czech artist Peter Sis, is now up for public viewing at the Ellis Island National Museum. Celebrate Lennon, the piloting peace advocate, in a new imagined light.