Records, mix tapes, fridge magnets, guitars, festival passes and concert tickets – these are just some of the personal possessions and miscellanea that once belonged to Amy Winehouse, which will be heading to Melbourne in October.
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait will focus on one of the most captivating pop stars of the 21st century. The show at the Jewish Museum will be a glimpse into her private spaces, curated by her brother Alex and sister-in-law Riva.
Her prodigious talent and troubled life dominated Winehouse’s public image until her death in 2011. Her Jewish heritage has never been a big part of her public persona, but this exhibition returns it to the fore.
Judaism, for someone who’s secular, often centres around food and family, and Winehouse hung onto both. She often wore a Star of David necklace. She went to a Hebrew school as a girl.
“As a young Jewish woman I can definitely see the Jewish sensibility in her,” says Elysheva Elsass from the museum. “She had yiddishkeit.” Roughly translated, it means a sense of Jewishness.
“She talks about her Jewish grandmother, and her love of cooking chicken soup and matzah balls,” Elsass adds. “Although, if you listen to her brother, she wasn’t so good at chicken soup as she was at matzah balls.”
In her short life Winehouse put out only two albums. The second, Back To Black (produced by Mark Ronson and featuring Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings as her backing band) has sold more than 12 million copies.
She only lived to 27, so this will be a time capsule from a tragically curtailed life.
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait opens at the Jewish Museum on October 22. Tickets are now on sale.