Today marks the anniversary of the death of the jazz/soul singer Amy Winehouse, who died two years ago today at the age of 27. The North London singer left a legacy of six Grammy awards, three Ivor Novellos and a Brit award for best British female solo artist. Amy was a Londoner through and through, this was evident in her style, attitude and cultural references. Brought up in Southgate in North London, Amy was also a frequent visitor to the East End, where members of her family had lived. Amy later moved to Camden Town as her music career took off and became strongly associated with the area.
A new exhibition celebrating the life and career of the singer titled, “A Family Portrait” curated by the Jewish Museum in her beloved Camden, has been mounted during the Summer months. The show was made possible with help from her brother Alex and sister-‐in-‐law Riva. Opening on 3 July – 15 September 2013. it is a personal and intimate exhibition about a much-‐loved sister and personality.
The exhibition consists of a collection of personal belongings from the star’s home. Photographs, articles of clothing and her coveted awards make up this eclectic collection.The family have given the Jewish Museum unprecedented access to Amy’s belongings, including her guitar, record collection and some of her iconic outfits. This exhibition celebrates her passion for music, fashion, London and her family.
Many unseen photographs of Amy’s family life will be on display, revealing her strong Jewish roots and heritage as well as her close family relationships. Friday night dinners and Alex’s barmitzvah are captured in these images, and vintage photographs of their beloved grandmother Cynthia show what may have been the roots of Amy’s distinctive style.
Photographs are an important part of the exhibition and Amy’s own battered suitcase crammed with photographs of friends and family will be on display. It is this suitcase that Amy insisted her father come to look through with her a couple of days before her death in 2011 – the last time he saw her.
Alex Winehouse says, “Amy was someone who was incredibly proud of her Jewish-‐London roots. Whereas other families would go to the seaside on a sunny day, we’d always go down to the East End. That was who we were, and what we were. We weren’t religious, but we were traditional. I hope, in this most fitting of places, that the world gets to see this other side not just to Amy, but to our typical Jewish family.”
Abigail Morris, CEO of the Jewish Museum, says, “Amy Winehouse was an immensely talented, iconic and inspirational singer and she was a Jewish girl from North London. It is fitting that the Jewish Museum in her beloved Camden Town should be the place to tell her story in the year that she would have celebrated her 30th birthday. We are very honoured that Alex and Riva chose the museum.”
Photo: Tribute – portrait of Amy Winehouse painted by Johan Andersson 2012
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait – The Jewish Museum Camden 3 July – 15 September 2013