For those Rihanna fans who were worried that her next album will be delayed even more than it is here is a good news. The long-anticipated 8th album by the popular singer will be available soon and Rihanna has just uncovered the cover art at the Mama Gallery in Los Angeles. The title of the latest record is Anti, and the Jerusalem-born contemporary artist Roy Nachum did the cover. The artwork tackles the idea of blindness in physical and metaphorical sense and reportedly, it is Rihanna’s favorite cover of her career and some even believe that the singer has changed the history of the album art.
Now let’s see why is this artwork so special. The oil painting presented at Mama Gallery exhibition features an image of Rihanna as a child holding a black balloon in one hand with the golden crown covering her eyes. The painting is done in black and white color palette with the splashes of fluorescent red and it incorporates the poem by Chloe Mitchell inscribed in Braille. Perhaps you are familiar with the name, as Mitchell collaborated with Kanye West previously. Nachum has been experimenting with the Braille lately, sculpting the paint squares on the surface of the canvas. The Braille writings on the painting deal with the identity problems and the way individuals feel misunderstood by the society.
The cover art for Rihanna’s forthcoming record deals with the idea of blindness, literally embracing the Braille writing system and metaphorically encompassing the idea of people with sight being blinder than those who are deprived of their vision. Nothing new, the idea has been with us since the dawn of time and the ancient cultures. Just remember Oedipus if you don’t want to dig further. The painting isn’t innovative in terms of Nachum’s works either. In some of his latest pieces, there is the recurring motif of children whose eyes are covered with the crowns of gold and the Braille signage is also present. Perhaps the most original idea presented by Nachum is that the blind people can actually experience the visual works of art through the parallel sensations and by interacting with the paintings. Wondering if that will also be included when the album hits the record stores?
During the presentation, there were only the worlds of respect exchanged between the artists. The Israeli-born artist enjoys a prominent status among the Hollywood collectors including celebrities Jay Z, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and Rihanna herself. Rihanna explains that her choice of the artist was motivated by Nachum’s ability to see beyond the surface and she trusted him to reinterpret her vision. Considering the artwork in the context of his previous works, Roy Nachum’s imagination seems to dominate the painting, and we may wonder what is the singer’s role in the conceptualization. Or is it the shared vision that makes this artwork so great. The album entitled Anti, first since her 2012 Unapologetic is expected soon, although the release date hasn’t been announced yet. We know that it will be produced by none other than legendary Kanye West and for the anxious fans there are three songs to be checked out before the official release of the latest album with the revolutionary art on the cover.
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Rihanna in front of Nachum's painting. Photo via dishnation.com