UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, unveiled a mural of clouds in the sky that will be auctioned in 67 puzzle pieces to raise funds and to mark the second annual World Autism Awareness Day.
The 76-year-old Japanese artist and musician created the seven-foot tall "Promise" mural from acrylic materials. Each of the 67 pieces of art will be auctioned with starting bids of $1,000 at www.charitybuzz.com/yoko.
"When I was first approached to create an artwork for autism awareness I was shocked by the worldwide prevalence of this serious situation, especially among our children," Ono said at the auction launch at the United Nations.
"My work, 'Promises,' symbolizes that we all hold a piece of this puzzle and we must work to raise awareness, funds for research and advocate for families who experience autism," she said, adding that the 67 pieces represent the 67 million people who have autism around the world.
More than 100 events are being held around the world on Thursday in 35 countries to mark World Autism Awareness Day, one of only three issues to be recognized by the United Nations with a dedicated day. The others are AIDS and diabetes.
Autism is a developmental disability that hinders a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships. Its cause is not known and there is no cure.
"I have often said a dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality," Ono said of the quest to find a cure for autism.
Funds from the auction will benefit Austism Speaks, an advocacy organization.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Patricia Reaney