Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait


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.


There’s Amy! Smack dab in the middle.

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?

7 responses to “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait

  1. Amy Winehouse seems like a tortured soul. She had so much raw talent and success, without any of the support structure to stabilize her life. There are days when I can really relate to the apathy, boredom, and listlessness she felt. To be a great singer, you need passion and insight but the world isn’t kind to people with that much vision.

  2. I’m an Amy Winehouse fan! And I’m so glad that when you turned a corner and saw this exhibit, you had the time to go in — then share with the rest of us. Somehow, I’m not surprised that Amy was reading the classics, but perhaps a little surprised that she hid them. And you’re right — kind of typical teenage behavior. I appreciate getting to know more about her daily life — thanks for sharing this!

  3. Collections for you!? Travel guides and journals upon journals of notes taken.
    Books everywhere!! And boxes of them from other people who know you love them!
    All of the homemade art from your kids, most of which is still on display, and cat memorabilia!

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