London exhibition to celebrate Amy Winehouse as family girl


Previously unseen photographs of Amy Winehouse at her brother's barmitzvah, along with childhood treasures and examples of her distinctive outfits, are to form part of the first major exhibition celebrating the singer's work and highlighting her Jewish heritage.

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait is being curated by the singer's older brother, Alex Winehouse, and will be on show at the Jewish Museum in Camden, just yards from the home in which she died in July 2011.

Although she was only 27 at the time, she had already achieved huge success in her musical career, with two bestselling albums and a string of awards.

But if in life her struggles with alcohol and drugs sometimes overshadowed her talent, the exhibition will show another, largely unknown side to Winehouse - as a proud daughter and sister growing up in Southgate in what her brother describes as "a typical Jewish family".

"Amy was someone who was incredibly proud of her Jewish-London roots," said Mr Winehouse, who has worked on the display with his wife Riva. "Whereas other families would go to the seaside on a sunny day, we'd always go down to the East End [where the family had its roots].

"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."

Visitors to the exhibition, which opens on July 3, will be introduced to the Winehouse who enjoyed Friday night dinners and was close to her grandmother.

Among the displays will be a battered suitcase filled with photographs of loved-ones, which Winehouse and her father Mitch looked through just days before her death, as well as her record collection, the vintage bar she installed in her Camden home, her first guitar - which was originally shared with Alex - and her school uniform.

The exhibition will take visitors through the family's story in London's East End, starting with the arrival of her paternal great great-grandparents as immigrants from Belarus in the 1890s, and the Commercial Street barbershop that her great-grandparents, Benjamin and Fanny, opened.

Fans may be intrigued to study photographs of Winehouse as the younger sister of the barmitzvah boy, or discover that her grandmother, Cynthia, once dated the jazz musician, Ronnie Scott.

They will also be able to see a selection of Winehouse's iconic fashion choices, from the dress she wore when she preformed at Glastonbury in 2008 to the outfit she had on in the video for her single, Tears Dry On their Own.

Abigail Morris, chief executive of the Jewish Museum, said: "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.

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