Eve Jeffery and David Lowe
Last night in Nimbin, a small group of people were rewarded for braving stormy skies when the clouds parted above Allsop Park, near the town’s war memorial, for a special ceremony to mark the 34th anniversary of the death of music legend John Lennon.
Local man Benny Zable, who is an artist and international activist, unveiled a painted to scale reproduction of the famous IMAGINE mosaic that he started working on when he traced the original in New York three years ago.
Zable says that he along with Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, and Peter Wise who is the president of the NImbin Chamber of Commerce, and a friend in New York, tried to get official permission to create the artwork, but was told by John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono through her lawyer that there would be no permission given as it was site specific for Strawberry Fields in Central Park, NYC.
Zable says he decided to go ahead with the project despite opposition as he felt that the message contained in the piece, created originally by artists from Naples, should be spread world-wide. ‘IMAGINE is a popular inspiration for all who visit it beyond a memorial for John Lennon’, he said. ‘It would greatly benefit the world if it was recreated in city centres all over the world especially the trouble spots.
‘This is what art should do – inspire change. This IMAGINE is an exact reproduction from the original and probably has not been reproduced anywhere else in the world.’
‘We tried all ways to get it legal, but we ended up doing it Nimbin way – just do it!
It is Benny’s vision that where ever there are memorials to war there will grow similar inspirational markers of peace.
‘We have war memorials everywhere to remind people about war and peace, but what’s special here is the word ‘imagine’. There is “Lest We forget” what war does, but “Imagine” what a better world we can have! That’s the culture that’s developed in Central Park, it’s been an important part of the peace movement in New York City. It will have its natural development here as well. People from the world come through the centre of Nimbin.
‘I think this is a significant achievement, not only for me to pull off, also for Nimbin and the world at large.
‘We need places for people to gather, especially when times get tough. This is meeting place, it natural that it lifts the spirit here.’