Amy Winehouse exhibition opens at Design Museum to celebrate artist as a cultural icon

A new retrospective exhibition celebrating Amy Winehouse’s life and work opened in the Design Museum in Kensington on 26 November.

Marking the 10-year anniversary of Winehouse’s death, the exhibition allows visitors to step backstage and relive iconic performances, and to understand the singer’s creative process as an artist.

Amy: Beyond the Stage was created in collaboration with Winehouse’s family, with her close friend and stylist Naomi Parry acting as a special advisor to give the exhibition a personal touch.

Parry said: “I was determined to make an exhibition about Amy happen because I had seen first-hand how she became a global icon.

“Often the portrayal of Amy is focused on the negative aspects of her life, while this exhibition will take visitors through all she achieved and highlight the incredible mark she left on the lives of her fans all around the world.”

Visitors will be able to look at previously unseen personal items, including Winehouse’s teenage notebooks, handwritten lyrics and her first electric guitar.

The exhibition also explores the story behind the singer’s iconic beehive and fashion style, and displays several dresses that she wore for live performances.

Exhibition curator and head of curatorial Priya Khanchandani, said: “Amy’s amazing voice, confessional lyrics and provocative manner made her one of the most important artists of our time.

“She resisted the singular nature of genre, and this was reflected in her image.

“This exhibition pays tribute to the many references Amy drew on, which made her a character that was and remains larger than life.”

The curators have also emphasised how Amy Winehouse drew on a wide range of genres and music influences – including Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, the Shagri-Las, the Ronettes, Motown, Salt-N-Pepa, and many more.

Born in Enfield, North London, in 1983, Amy Winehouse attended the Brit School, a performing and Creative Arts school in Croydon, and recorded her first demo aged sixteen.

Her second album, Back to Black, sold 3.58 million copies in the UK alone, becoming the UK’s second best-selling album of the 21st century so far.

The album has sold over 16 million copies worldwide.

Amy Winehouse died on 23 July 2011 of alcohol poisoning, at the age of 27.

Amy: Beyond the Stage will be open until 10 April 2022.

Featured image credit: Exhibition identity by Studio Moross

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