Where: Minsk City History Museum When: 15/06/19 - 31/08/19
Amy Winehouse was an iconic singer, six-time Grammy Awards winner and an idol for millions - and her ancestors came from Belarus. In 1890, Amy's great grandfather, Harris Winehouse, emigrated from Minsk to London with his family to never come back to his homeland again. However, until the present day the family carefully keeps the memories and the history of its roots. Special for the project "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait", on the initiative of the exhibition organizers, the archive documents on the Winehouse family were for the first time found and presented by the Belarusian National Historical Archive.
[ about the project ]
The legendary exposition "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait" was created in 2013 by the Jewish Museum London with the aid of Amy's elder brother Alex Winehouse. Later it was successfully presented in San Francisco, Vienna, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Melbourne and other cities of the world. It is an honest and moving story of her family and origins, her childhood and youth, things that were dear to her and the heritage that she left.
«This exhibition was never simply about my sister – for to understand and know her, it is imperative that you also know where she came from, what made her tick, and what led to her becoming one of the most recognised talents of her generation. Therefore, you have to go back: to Victorian London and a man just 28 years old, stepping off a boat from Russia with barely a penny to his name and a young family back home depending on him making his way in order to survive... This isn't merely the tale of one person or even one family – it is the tale of all of us, from London to Cape Town, New York to Tel Aviv».
Alex Winehouse, from foreword to the book on the exhibition "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait"
Belarusian-Jewish Cultural Heritage Center, Goethe-Institute in Belarus and British Embassy in Belarus have joined efforts to organize a large-scale cross-cultural project that has allowed bringing the exhibition "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait" to Minsk.
The arrival of the exhibition in Belarus is a symbolic epilogue of its history. The exhibition in Minsk became the only showcase in the CIS and the last showcase in the world, having gained completely unique singificance: due to this project the Winehouse family for the first time came back to its historical homeland.
The opening was attended by Amy's brother, Alex Winehouse, with his wife Riva and son Cosmo, the chief curator of the Jewish Museum London Dominik Czechowski, and the museum CEO Abigail Morris.
«It's all about returning home: the home is not where you live, it's where you feel safe. ... I think what you are doing today is just fantastic, it proves once again that the Jews and other national communities that historically live on these lands may feel at home here. This exhibition is celebrating Jewish people and saying: Let them feel safe and at home here again».
Abigail Morris, Director of Jewish Museum London
As part of the project specialties, alcohol-free cocktails #AmyfromMinsk were created and served all summer at the local bars "Peresmeshnik" and "Vinny Shkaf".
[ party ]
On August 9, the cultural center KORPUS hosted a party #AmyfromMinsk, dedicated to the iconic singer. The program included a cover-set of a popular jazz band Apple Tea, a contest for the best impersonation of Amy, a lecture on tattoos and various prizes.
In October 2019, the Winehouse family came to visit Belarus once again. Alex and Riva attended the exhibition "Moisei Nappelbaum. The Portrait of the Epoch" organized by the Center. The couple also spent a wonderful evening in the company of Ms. Jaqueline Perkins, the British Ambassador in Belarus, and took a journey to the historical homeland of the Winehouse family - the town of Rakov.
«Events like Amy Winehouse exhibition prove that borders are starting to shift. Belarus is slowly evolving on an international scene and becoming a convenient space for organising cultural and IT events. Hopefully, the trend will continue and Belarus will see more interest from the international community».
«Here one will find the singer's favorite vinyls (mainly classics: Sinatra, Armstrong, Fitzgerald), her guitar, her Grammys, her clothes and books (for example, "Snoopy" that Amy would keep with her all her life and a cook book by which she learned to cook) and many photographs - all of which show the importance of the family relationships and the memory of the roots, and cast a light on the inner world of Amy Winehouse».
Sergey Sheremetiev, Deputy Minister of Culture in Belarus Minsknews.by read
«We all inherit the fruit of her art. It unites us in a single European cultural space. And we should be proud that such an exhibition has opened in Minsk».
Fiona Gibb, Ambassador of Great Britain in Belarus RUTÁGE MAGAZINE, UK read
«It is a very important project for both Britain and our intercultural connections with Belarus. Amy's personality, same as her music, unites millions of people all over the world, helping to create the dialogue with the representatives of different nations. That is exactly why the exhibition opening was attended by a large delegation from London, including Alex Winehouse with his wife and son and the director of the Jewish Museum of London, Abigail Morris».
Jacob Racek, Director of the Goethe-Institute in Belarus Onliner.by read
«About a year ago I heard about the exhibition on the radio. I was very surprised to know that Amy Winehouse was of Belarusian origin. Also I heard that the exhibition is coming to the end of its tour. That is when I had the idea to bring it here».
«Più che di un arrivo, si tratta di un ritorno: proprio in Bielorussia si trovano infatti le radici della famiglia Winehouse: il bisnonno di Amy emigrò dalla Bielorussia a Londra nel 1890, legando così il suo destino e quello dei suoi discendenti alla capitale inglese. Il cerchio così si chiude: Minsk è l'ultima tappa della mostra».
[ to watch ]
TV-channel Belarus 1
Story on exhibition "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait" and the life of Amy Winehouse.
«I'm 40, and when I was growing, Amy and I would be told that we came from Russia. But now we know that our family comes from Minsk. And this is the land that produces geniuses: in the film industry - Hollywood was founded by the Jews from Minsk, in music, literature - the Belarusians have succeeded in everything. And I am glad to visit the city where the story of my family began».
Israeli Embassy in Belarus Gismart company Itransition company
Ulej crowd funding platform Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Associations and Communities National Historical Archive of the Republic of Belarus ICON magazine Hotel Europe Svet Goroda Advertising Agency Belavia OnAir Bars "Vinny Shkaf" and "Peresmeshnik" Citydog.by IPR Belarus
Belarusian-Jewish Cultural Heritage Center Goethe-Institute Belarus British Embassy in Belarus Jewish Museum London Minsk City History Museum