Visitors to the Jewish Museum may have noticed four new arrivals near to the ground floor entrance: Vibrant, striking and evocative, a fresh quartet of colourful pop artworks show Amy Winehouse playfully touching her ear with one hand and holding a paintbrush in the other, a freshly daubed heart drizzling down the wall behind her.
Created by her close friend and American-born artist Pegasus, the installation is one of five artworks dotted around Camden that have been specially commissioned by the Jewish Museum, in collaboration with Global Street Art, to celebrate Amy’s legacy nearly six years after her death.
The installation and street artworks were officially unveiled this week, and coincide with the return of the critically-acclaimed exhibition, Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait, which runs until September at the Jewish Museum.
For Pegasus, whose street art image, Fallen Angel, became the site of an unofficial shrine just hours after the 27-year-old singer died, there is nothing more fitting than the addition of new art in Amy’s beloved Camden.
“This was her playground, this is where she felt most at home – because she was Camden,” says Pegasus of the Jewish music icon. “You can still feel her energy here.”
He adds: “She was a massive inspiration for me and, listening to her music, there was something so different compared to all the other singers trending at the time. There was a realness about her.”
Recalling the first time they were introduced, Pegasus tells me he was “so worried and nervous” and when they finally spoke he told her how much he loved her music.
“When she realised I was this crazy fan, she just laughed and said: ‘Shut up mate, don’t be stupid!’”
On another occasion, he remembers her playful, fun-loving and, at times, kooky side.
“There was a funny moment when Amy couldn’t find her phone, so she asked all of us to call her. We couldn’t stop laughing, because we realised it was buzzing away in her hair. It was an easy place to tuck it away, I guess.”
For his series of paintings, Pegasus has drawn on the many shades of Amy’s personality and her attitude towards love.
“I wanted to portray her as a daydreamer, a true believer of one day getting that fairytale romance, but I also wanted her lyrics, “love is a losing game”, to contradict that image. The song comes across as her not being very lucky in love, but the images are more hopeful.
“Each colour provokes a different emotion and I wanted the audience to see all the different sides to Amy.”
Upstairs at the museum, visitors can enjoy another look at a wealth of unpublished photographs of Amy and her family, designer clothes worn by the late singer, her eclectic record collection and other memorabilia.
Curator Jo Rosenthal says there was “a strong sense of bringing the exhibition back by public demand”, such was its impact on visitors when it first arrived here four years ago.
One important addition to the display is an original sketch designed by Amy’s friend and tattoo artist, Henry Hate.
He subsequently inked the design, showing Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, onto the musician’s left arm, as a tribute to the matriarch’s eternal youthfulness and as Amy liked to say, ‘va va voom’.
Rosenthal explains: “They collaborated together on this design. Cynthia was a strong, charismatic, dynamic and very fashionable woman, who had a massive influence on Amy.”
Outside the museum, the tribute to Amy spills out onto the streets with artwork sprinkled around Camden, including a striking close-up of Amy’s face painted onto the outside wall of Nemesis Tattoo in Stucley Place, as well as a smouldering black-and-white image in Miller Street.
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait runs until 24 September at the Jewish Museum in Camden. Details: jewishmuseum.org.uk/amy