The sculpture Non-Violence is also known as “the knotted gun”. It was originally created as a memorial tribute to the legendary singer and songwriter John Lennon, after he was shot and killed outside his home in New York City on December 8, 1980.


The idea behind the knotted gun was to honor John Lennon for his vision of a world at peace. At the time John Lennon was one of the most public advocates for peace and non-violence and in many of his songs, both as part of the famous pop group The Beatles, and together with his wife Yoko Ono, the lyrics focused on the vision of a world without violence. Here are the final lyrics of his most famous song, “Imagine”:

“Imagine all the people living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I am not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.”

John Lennon

John Lennon, portrayed by Iain Macmillian.

The knotted gun in New York
The original outside United Nations Headquarters in New York City, USA.


Initially, the sculpture was placed in the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park, NYC, across the street from where John and Yoko lived. In 1988, the Government of Luxembourg donated a bronze sculpture to the United Nations.

Kofi Anan, United Nation
Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006.

It was placed outside the United Nations headquarters in New York and Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate, stated at the 10 year anniversary:

“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.”

Since the honorable placement at the United Nations, replicas has been placed at more than 30 strategic places around the world, including the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, at the Waterfront in Cape Town and in the Peace Park in Beijing.

The knotted gun sculpture i Lausanne
The Non-Violence sculpture in the Olympic Park in Lausanne, Switzerland. See more sculptures.


Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd was a personal friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. After the shooting, Carl Fredrik was asked by Yoko to create an artistic tribute to John and his vision of a peaceful world.

Carl Fredrik Reutersward

Check Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd's ambassador page

Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd (1934-2016) was not only one of Sweden’s internationally most famous artists. He is also a prominent writer. In the 60´s he became famous for avant-garde writings like “Cornering the discipline on board” and “Prix Nobel”. In 1988 he was successful as the author of his memoirs “Look, I am invisible” in which he tells the story of his childhood and adolescence.


The sculpture is being interpreted by some of the world’s most well-known personalities, as part of our Non-Violence For Peace Tour. These, our distinguished ambassadors, create their personal artistic interpretation of the sculpture and their replica sculptures are then exhibited at various events and art exhibitions around the world.

Yoko Ono in her studio in New York
Yoko Ono by her sculpture "Imagine.

Sir Paul McCartney

Lionel Messi

Ringo Starr

All ambassadors


The symbol and sculpture also play an important part in the many creative activities in our educational programs. Young people participating in our sessions around the world interpret the symbol on our drawing sheets, and are then able to decorate their local environment with their non-violence messages.

Jose Gomez drawing of the knotted gun