Yoko Ono received a first degree in philosophy from Tokyo's Gakushuin University. At the age of 14 she went to study philosophy and music at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. In 1956 she married Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi and in 1963 began a second marriage with the art promoter Tony Cox.
Ono became a pioneer in the emerging medium of performance art, and she met John Lennon, at her own, one-woman, avant-garde art show in London in 1966. Together they created the Plastic Ono Band, an exciting experimental multi-media project. Their fame is for many associated with images of peace protests against the Vietnam War. A recent re-staging of Ono's Cut Piece in Paris was part of a number of pro-peace demonstrations by the artist. After the event Ono said, "When I first performed this work, in 1964, I did it with some anger and turbulence in my heart. This time, I do it with love for you, for me and for the world."
Last year she rented a billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus, which read: "Imagine all the people living life in peace," a line from Lennon's famous song Imagine. She also took out full-page advertisements in papers around the world on the eve of the war in Iraq. The adverts said: "Imagine Peace...Spring 2003."