Most fans of Amy Winehouse know the singer-songwriter best for her powerful contralto vocals, estimable songwriting talents and instantly recognisable sense of style – not to mention a widely reported-upon, tumultuous personal life. However, a new exhibition at the Jewish Museum in London explores a hitherto barely-known side of Winehouse’s life – her upbringing as a member of a traditional, close-knit Jewish household.
While Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait should attract no shortage of the singer’s most passionate admirers, it’s sure to be just as impressive as an intimate snapshot of family life in Camden Town’s Jewish community – appealing to a wide variety of different exhibition-goers.
The Winehouse family have given the museum unprecedented access to the singer’s personal belongings, including her record collection and guitars – not to mention her luminous, expansive wardrobe.
Furthermore, the Jewish Museum will showcase a huge number of previously unseen photographs – comprehensively documenting Winehouse’s childhood and life before her rise to fame, including events like her brother’s bar mitzvah and portraits of their much-loved grandparents.
One of the most important exhibits is the battered suitcase that Winehouse used to store her own snapshots – among them images from her stardom alongside ones that demonstrate her close family relationships and background.
Alex Winehouse, who collaborated with the Jewish Museum alongside sister-in-law Riva, said: “Amy was someone who was incredibly proud of her Jewishâ€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.
“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.”
The museum is located in the heart of the Camden Town, close to where the Winehouse family call home. Those staying in central London hotels should find the venue easy to reach; the closest tube stops are Camden Town and Mornington Crescent.
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait opens on July 3rd.