It seemed strange to walk along a sidewalk in Brussels, Belgium and suddenly see Amy Winehouse’s picture along the wall. Being neither Belgian, nor alive, I wondered what was going on and quickly discovered that the Jewish Museum had a special exhibition of Amy Winehouse’s personal life entitled “A Family Portrait.”
I bought a ticket for 10 Euros and entered a room that featured family pictures and tidbits from Amy’s life when she was NOT on tour. These artifacts were borrowed from her family and share more intimate details of this iconic singer.
For instance, Amy wanted to learn to cook. She borrowed her grandmother’s cookbook to make the Jewish Chicken Soup that she loved. A family member remarked that it was not her best dish.
She also loved to read. She’d display popular contemporary novels in her room, but hide the older classics that she secretly enjoyed reading. Her brother said that he felt like she tried to hide her intelligence — a common practice among teenagers everywhere, I think.
The display shared pictures of Amy in grade school in London. She once wrote in her journals that she couldn’t imagine having grown-up anywhere else even though there’d been a chance that her family might have lived in New York at one time. They chose London instead.
Lastly, two displays showcased her collection of backstage passes to other shows. She collected those and refrigerator magnets; two small personality quirks that probably no one but her family and friends knew.
This moving special-exhibition doesn’t delve much into Amy as the tragic alternative singer/songwriter that we knew. It was a more personal glimpse of the family member who is missed by those who knew her best and decided to share some of these bits with the rest of those who adored Amy.
Are you an Amy Winehouse fan?