An exhibition at London’s Jewish Museum aims to reveal an intimate side to a troubled star who was also, in the words of her older brother Alex, «simply a little Jewish kid from North London with a big talent.»
«Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait» brings together items from the late singer’s London childhood, her stage-school years and her short but stratospheric career in music — from her first guitar to a posthumous Grammy Award.
By the time she died in 2011 at the age of 27, Winehouse was a larger-than-life figure whose battles with drugs and alcohol, splashed across front pages around the world, sometimes seemed to overshadow her talent. The exhibition shows that she was also a young woman who loved music, loved London and loved her family.
«It’s a story that people don’t know about Amy, her family story,» museum chief executive Abigail Morris said. «You can forget there’s a person behind the hype.»
Ms Morris said the show was a natural for the Jewish Museum. Winehouse came from a close-knit Jewish family, and the museum is in Camden, the neighbourhood where the singer lived for most of her adult life — where she saw gigs and played them, browsed in second-hand record stores and drank in pubs. It’s also the neighbourhood where she died of accidental alcohol poisoning at her home in July 2011.
Assembled with help from her brother Alex Winehouse and his wife Riva, the exhibition grew from the Winehouse family’s offer to donate one of Amy’s dresses. It expanded into a celebration of her Jewish roots, her family and her home city.