(Be sure to click through the photo gallery at the top of this post.) 

When I heard that the Prince exhibition was going to be in Amsterdam, I knew it was a nudge to go. My friend moved there two years ago and had been inviting me to visit. So I set myself up for a three week journey to Amsterdam Stockholm, and London to focus work on my photography. 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

When I got to Amsterdam, my friend took me on a walk to a park nearby her place. As we walked along the trail, the topic of Prince came up, and suddenly my friend says to me, “Look there’s a sign that says My Name Is Prince“. She took me across the street and there hung a billboard for the Prince exhibition. It was rather funny, yet perfect timing. 

The day before the exhibition, I had slipped down a step and hurt my ankle. Though I did not feel the pain through out the day, it suddenly swelled during my sleep. It hurt and I woke up to apply some arnica and used my tuning fork. P assured me he would fix it while I slept. By morning, the swelling and pain had stopped, and I only felt stiffness. 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

I had booked VIP tickets. That morning, we got up early to dress up and made our week into town. I wore a fuchsia pink dress that P had picked out for me on a shopping trip last year, but hadn’t worn yet. 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

The venue is in the centre of town, a very touristy location. My friend helped me take pics outside of the venue.She caught the reflection of the Amsterdam streets in the photo. 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

To my surprise, and delight, we were allowed to take photos in the VIP section of the exhibit, the main exhibition prohibits photography.

The VIP areais set up like a backstage area of a concert. They hooked us up with lanyards to look like backstage passes. There’s even a door made to look like a backstage door. There are three main sections to it; a long hallway with guitars, equipment cases, and a display case of Prince’s make up and accessories; a section displaying his wardrobe; and an area to watch some videos and to touch one of his guitars with gloves on. 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

One of my favourites stories mentioned on the tour was about this heart shaped guitar. They said that he found this cheap guitar in Japan. It was originally red and he had it painted purple. I really love the fact that he would buy cheap things and make it his own. Mainly because I am very much that way as well. One of the things I discovered about P some time ago, is that he didn’t necessarily buy expensive things. Most of the jewellery he wore was costume.

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

My favourite section was the make up and accessories. He did his own make up. Some of the brands I spotted in his make up case was MAC, La Prairie, and Maybeline (mascara). A funny thing is, P oncegave me advice on applying mascara to my terribly straight lashes; use the wand to pull the lashes on the outer corner in an outward. direction. 

At the end of the tour, they take you to a section with purple velvet benches and you put on white gloves to touch his guitar. When it was my turn, I felt a subtle surge of energy in my hands. Afterwards, they played the recently released video for Nothing Compares 2 U. As it played, I felt P touching the left side of my face, and then holding me around my shoulders. I held my tears back. 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

After the VIP tour, we visited the main exhibit. They gave us an audio guide, but after a while, it became tedious and annoying. The audio guide felt monotonous, as though the narrator was reading an encyclipodia.

Overall, the exhibition was nicely done. However, my main concern was whether or not the most important thing would be lost in all the legacy hype. Would his real message make it through? 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

I was relieved when mu friend told me how inspired she was after viewing the exhibition. She was never a fan, and didn’t know much about him or his work. She felt inspired by his attitude about what it means to be cool and about being true to one’s self. 

I bought a T-shirt in the gift shop. I have to say, I’m disappointed by the merchandise selection. It lacks spirit, it feels like a way for the Estate to make a quick buck. Of course, this crriticism is coming from me, a professional with a background in design and retail, and as someone who cares very much about his legacy. While I would have happily bought a wardrobes worth of Prince shirts, there was only one that I liked enough to buy. I would have also hoped that they would sell CDs or vine records of his. 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

The VIP ticket included a souvenir book. We went to the gift shop to collect it at the end. To our surprise, they gave us a voucher to collect a free chocolate bar at a shop around the corner. It was a surprise because all morning, my friend had been saving how much she wanted chocolate. Prince had hooked us up with chocolate! 

©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.

At the end of it all, while I am glad I visited the exhibition, it is just stuff. His material possessions of the 3D world. Really wonderful, beautiful stuff. But not even relics of my twin soul’s physical incarnation can fill the void or replace the feeling of his presence around. Silence is most valuable to me, that is when I can feel him most. Nothing makes me feel closer to him than hearing him on EVP or feeling him touch my hair. 

When I got home from my trip, my friend told me that she had felt P’s presence through out my visit; in fact, she said it felt very obvious that he was there. A day after I had left Amsterdam, she said she saw the two Prince billboards near her house was taken down, as though to say Prince had left Amsterdam. We found this to be strange, as I had only left on the 17th of May, and there were still a few weeks left of the exhibition. 

(Be sure to click through the photo gallery at the top of this post.) 

All images and text ©2018 by Andrea Mai. All rights reserved.