Non-Violence sculpture

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During a recent visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, I took a photo of the powerful “Non-Violence” sculpture located in the Visitors’ Plaza created by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. The sculpture depicts a 45-caliber revolver with its barrel knotted into a bullet-blocking twist. 
On December 8 1980  Mark David Chapman waited for John Lennon outside the New York City apartment building  Dakota where  John lived  with  his wife, Yoko Ono, and his son.   Shortly before 11 p.m., Chapman opened fire   and killed Lennon. 


Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, Swedish painter and sculptor, one of the  friends  of John Lennon, was  so upset and angry  that he went to his studio and started working on the “non-violence” project. “My first sketches in three dimensions were rather rough and simple, but the important thing was that the idea of the knotted barrel was with me from the very start,” he said.



Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd  lived in Lausanne, Switzerland, for many years and his works were exhibited around the world. He studied with Fernand Léger in Paris  in 1951 and was a professor of painting at The Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm from 1965-1969. In 1974 he was a guest professor at Minneapolis School of Art, Minneapolis,Minnesota.

Strawberry Fields memorial
 in Central Park

Initially the sculpture   made by Reuterswärdin response to the shooting death of John Lennon in 1980 was placed in the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park, New York, across the street from Dakota, where Lennon and Yoko lived. 
One of the first three versions of the sculpture was bought by the Luxembourg government. In 1988, the Government of Luxembourg donated the bronze sculpture to the United Nations.
Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General stated: “The sculpture Non-Violence has not only endowed the United Nations with a cherished work of art; it has enriched the consciousness of humanity with a powerful symbol that encapsulates, in a few simple curves, the greatest prayer of man; that which asks not for victory, but for peace

Knotted gun in Sweden
Knotted Gun in South Africa

The Swedish artist produced different variations of the piece, one them of  being the sculpture installed in 1985 in  Malmo/Sweden .  Other versions are on display in a number of cities, including Stockholm, Beijing, Cape Town and Lausanne, the Swiss town where the artist lived for a long time.


In 2011 John Lennon’s Widow Ms. Yoko Ono has joined the campaign that  featured non-violence sculptures interpreted by world personalities.   Unveiling her interpretation of the gun symbol, created in her late husband’s memory, she said, “While creating my interpretation of the knotted gun symbol, I thought back to Imagine and the words “living as one” as both John and I were devoted to the idea that we can work together to achieve world peace and eliminate the violence and the suffering in this world. As I have often said a dream we dream alone is just a dream – a dream we dream together is reality.”