Rihanna Enlists Artist Roy Nachum to Design a Bizarre Braille Album Cover

The artist was spotted in Jay Z's private art collection.

Roy Nachum's cover art for Rihanna's forthcoming album, "Anti."
Photo: courtesy Company Agenda

Rihanna is no stranger to fielding accusations of plagiarism in her work. Now it seems the edgy singer and pop sensation is taking a new approach to art direction: commissioning her own pieces.

At a private event at LA’s MAMA Gallery on October 7, Riri unveiled details about her forthcoming album, Anti. Invitations to the event reportedly mentioned “a private viewing of artwork by Roy Nachum” for the singer’s latest studio album.

When Joseph Nahmad Contemporary opened in 2011, Nachum’s work was on display. Since then, he’s created the covers of three of Rihanna’s recent singles. Nahmad Contemporary still represents the artist, but Rihanna first became interested in Nachum after seeing some of his pieces in rapper Jay Z’s private art collection.

"Fire 1", a sculpted braille painting by Roy Nachum featuring poetry by Chloe Mitchell for Rihanna's upcoming album. <br>Photo: courtesy Company Agenda</br>

Roy Nachum, Fire 1, a sculpted braille painting.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

The cover features a child wearing a gold crown over her eyes, overlaid with braille poetry by Nachum and poet Chloe Mitchell. When the album hits stores, each copy will feature physical braille, according to Complex.

While the tactility of the art is unusual, it also seems strange that Rihanna is inviting her fans to rub their fingers all over an image of a topless little girl.

Nachum’s album art doesn’t deviate much from his previous works—the red and white color scheme, gold crown imagery, partial nudity, and use of braille crop up in nearly every series featured on his website, which also clarifies that the artist “explores the boundaries between visual and non-visual perception…allow[ing] the viewers to explore their own existential apprehensions.”

Rihanna fans at the album art unveiling were invited to read "Fire 2" with their fingers. <br>Photo: courtesy Company Agenda</br>

Rihanna fans at the album art unveiling were invited to read Fire 2 with their fingers.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

“The whole idea behind the braille is that people who have sight are sometimes the people who are blindest,” Rihanna told the GuardianNo new songs were played at the gallery opening, but these visual and tactile clues set the mood for the singer’s upcoming effort.

Only time will tell if this collaboration will force us to amend our list of the Top 12 Album Covers Designed by Famous Artists.

The fingerprint-covered braille painting "Fire 3" by Roy Nachum, interior album art for "ANTI". <br>Photo: courtesy Company Agenda</br>

Roy Nachum, Fire 3.
Photo: courtesy Company Agenda

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