Purple reigns at Prince exhibition

A guitar owned by the late singer on display at the My Name Is Prince exhibition.
A guitar owned by the late singer on display at the My Name Is Prince exhibition.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

More than 200 items belonging to the late musician are on show in London

LONDON • Customised guitars, pop hits and, of course, purple, are coming to London's O2 arena in a new exhibition of the late singer Prince's personal memorabilia from his legendary studio complex Paisley Park.

My Name Is Prince, which opened yesterday, features more than 200 items, including award statuettes, notepads of handwritten lyrics and elaborate costumes that featured in his music videos, feature films and tours.

The 5,000 sq m Paisley Park was opened by Prince in 1987 in a suburb of his hometown, Minneapolis, and it was there that he died of an accidental drug overdose last year.

The complex, with state-of-the-art recording studios and vaults full of unreleased music, has now been opened to fans.

Organisers said the singer had played a role in laying the foundations of the new exhibition.

"Prince started planning in the early 2000s to open Paisley Park up for tours - literally writing the first script," said Ms Angie Marchese, director of archives at the compound in Minnesota.

In addition to showcasing the highlights of Prince's career, Ms Marchese said organisers hoped to give visitors a glimpse of the reclusive singer's private side.

"Who he was as the friend, the bandmate, the brother. We hope to kind of tell a little bit of that story as well," she said.

Among the highlights on display are the purple trench coat Prince wore throughout his 1984 Oscar-winning movie Purple Rain, his famous "cloud" guitar and a large collection of high-heeled shoes.

"This is the first time we've taken any items out of Paisley Park," said Ms Tyka Nelson, Prince's only surviving full sibling.

Ms Marchese added: "There are so many things in the collection that only about 2 per cent of the collection is on display."

Ms Nelson said London was one of her brother's favourite destinations and holding the exhibition at the O2 Arena - where he performed 21 sell-out shows in 2007 - made it the "perfect place".

"I'm so excited to be able to meet the fans and share their Prince stories and give them hugs and have a cry with them if need be," she said.

The exhibition runs until Jan 7.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2017, with the headline 'Purple reigns at Prince exhibition'. Print Edition | Subscribe