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Amy Winehouse's family life examined in new London exhibition

July 05, 2013|By Randy Lewis
  • An exhibition entitled "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait" is scheduled to run through Sept. 15 at London's Jewish Museum.
An exhibition entitled "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait"… (Lefteris Pitarakis / Associated…)

What began as an offer from Amy Winehouse’s family to donate one of the late singer’s dresses to the Jewish Museum in London has turned into a full-fledged exploration of the her relationship with her family and her Jewish heritage in a new exhibition, “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait.”

"It's a story that people don't know about Amy: her family story," museum chief executive Abigail Morris told CBS News earlier this week. "You can forget there's a person behind the hype."

The show, which opened Wednesday, was assembled in part by Winehouse’s brother, Alex, and his wife, Riva.

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“Our nan, Cynthia, was a strong woman,” Alex wrote in exhibition materials about Amy's strong connection with her grandmother. “She claimed to be a medium, and taught Amy how to read tarot cards. She was so glamorous and never looked anything but her very best."

One photo of Cynthia Winehouse from the 1940s reportedly shows an uncanny resemblance between the singer and her grandmother.

"The more we talked the more we realized the exhibition wasn't going to be about her dresses and her clothes," curator Elizabeth Selby said. "It's about her roots and her family life."

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Winehouse died at 27 in 2011 of alcohol poisoning. In a separate interview, Winehouse’s mother said she wasn’t surprised that her daughter died so young.

“I couldn’t see Amy as an older person,” Janis Winehouse told the Sun in an interview this week. “She was this young girl who exploded into the world like a firecracker and then it was, ‘OK, I’m done — I’m off.’ Amy was never meant to be 30.”

"Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait" is scheduled to run through Sept. 15.

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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2

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