Rihanna has commissioned Israeli-born artist Roy Nachum to design the cover her new album “Anti” – and the sneak preview makes it clear why the superstar chose the talented Nachum.

Revealed last week at Los Angeles’ Mama Gallery, Nachum’s paintings feature a childhood image of Rihanna, holding a black balloon and wearing a golden crown over her eyes. “Sometimes we’re running in the world of today but we’re running after achievement,” Nachum said at the private viewing of his show. “The crown is oversized and covering what we’re supposed to see… We can’t see the success.”


Rihanna in front of her album art work by Roy Nachum. The left painting will appear on the front cover and the right painting will appear on the back cover.

Rihanna shared his sentiment.”Sometimes the ones who have sight are the blindest,” she said of the work that will be reproduced on the front and back cover, and throughout the album itself.

Born in 1979 in Jerusalem, Nachum studied at Bezalel Academy and then Cooper Union in New York. Since then, he has been based in Soho as mixed-media artist, using painting, sculpture and installation into his work, designed to question the viewer’s perception. The artist often paints subjects whose vision is obscured, such as the recurring image of a child whose eyes are covered by a gold crown.

Paintings part of Roy Nachum's Blind Series

Roy Nachum’s Blind Series.

His most recent works, and that which garnered the attention of Rihanna, incorporate Braille poetry that is sculpted onto the canvas. The artist blindfolded himself for a week to experience blindness. “Since then, I started creating,” he said in an interview with Billboard. To further break the traditional barrier between the art and its observer, Nachman brought blind people into his studio and encouraged them to touch the canvases, some of which had been burned and covered in charcoal. “I was able to have them experience visual art for the first time. Once they touched the art and read the Braille and touched the burnt frames, it stained their fingerprints with charcoal.”

Nachum’s large, monochrome, often red-stained canvases have adorned the walls of celebrity homes including Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, and Jay-Z–where Rihanna first saw Nachum’s work. “We see the same things,” he said. “We share the same perspective.”

Anti is Rihanna’s upcoming, eighth studio album, set to be released through Roc Nation (Jay-Z’s record label) and Westbury Road in the coming months. Her last album, Unapologetic, was released in 2012, and fans have anticipated the release of a new album for some time.

Judging by the media attention around Nachum’s work, it seems it was well worth the wait.

Rihanna unveiling the cover of her new album, Anti

Photos: Adarsha Benjamin/ Roy Nachum/ Roc Nation /Westbury Road

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