Rihanna Announces New Album 'Anti', Shares Bold Artwork and Packaging

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Rihanna seems to be coming into her own as an artist of vision. We were promised a new album back in January when she released the Kanye West, Paul McCartney and Dave Longstreth(!)-penned smash hit “FourFiveSeconds”. Nearly 10 months and a few singles later and we are only now getting news that her album may be ready to be released. The album is real and it’s called Anti. (So far, Rihanna and fans have been referring to the album has R8, as in Rihanna's eighth album. Eighth.)  

Say what you will about the album’s diverse set of singles—“FourFiveSeconds”, “American Oxygen”, and “Bitch Better Have My Money” will presumably be included on the album—but Anti has a quality only one other Rihanna album has hinted at: a sense of ambition. 

This ambition so far has manifested itself in genre- and time-traveling, social consciousness, and more elaborate and aggressive posturing. Last night at an event in Los Angeles it presented itself as seven oil paintings and poems from Roy Nachum and Chloe Mitchell (who previously worked on the poetry in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) that make up the album art for Anti. It’s an impressive undertaking and the proper album art (above) is compelling. No surprise, then, that Rihanna said, “This is my favorite album cover I've ever done.”

Below you can read more about the album packaging and as well as the seven poems ascribed on the art in braille:

In a recent exhibition at the MAMA Gallery, Rihanna and contemporary artist Roy Nachum have unveiled seven original oil paintings that will be used as the official artwork for her forthcoming eighth studio album titled ANTI. Included in these seven paintings is the album cover, which depicts a young girl with a gold crown covering her eyes, and a black balloon strung tightly to her wrist, painted in multiple, intersecting views. The back cover features an oil painting of the same young girl seen from behind. Both paintings are cleverly inscribed with sculpted Braille poetry by Chloe Mitchel that spreads between the front and the back cover of the album. Additional paintings featured as inside album artwork include poetry sculpted in Braille by Roy Nachum. This is the first time an album has ever incorporated physical Braille. The Braille inscription will also allow people who are blind to experience an entire album by touch.

1. "IF THEY LET US"
Poster Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil On Convas
100 x 87 inches / 254 x 221 cm
Poet: Chloe Mitchell

I sometimes fear that I am misunderstood. 

It is simply because what I want to say,

what I need to say, won’t be heard.

Heard in a way I so rightfully deserve.

What I choose to say is of so much substance

That people just won’t understand the depth of my message.

So my voice is not my weakness,

It is the opposite of what others are afraid of.

My voice is my suit and armor,

My shield, and all that I am.

I will comfortably breath in it, until I find the moment to be silent.

I live loudly in my mind, so many hours of the day.

The world is pin drop sound compared to the boom

That thumps and bumps against the walls of my cranium.

I live it and love it and despise it and I am entrapped in it.

So being misunderstood, I am not offended by the gesture, but honored.

If they let us...

2. "IF THEY LET US Part I"
Front Cover Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil On Canvas
51 x 45 inches / 130 x 114 cm
Poet: Chloe Mitchell

I sometimes fear that I am misunderstood.

It is simply because what I want to say,

what I need to say, won’t be heard.

Heard in a way I so rightfully deserve.

What I choose to say is of so much substance

That people just won’t understand the depth of my message.

So my voice is not my weakness,

It is the opposite of what others are afraid of.

3. "IF THEY LET US Part II"
Back Cover Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil On Canvas
51 x 45 inches / 130 x 114 cm
Poet: Chloe Mitchell

My voice is my suit and armor,

My shield, and all that I am.

I will comfortably breath in it, until I find the moment to be silent.

I live loudly in my mind, so many hours of the day.

The world is pin drop sound compared to the boom

That thumps and bumps against the walls of my cranium.

I live it and love it and despise it and I am entrapped in it.

So being misunderstood, I am not offended by the gesture, but honored.

If they let us...

4. "FIRE Part I"
Interior Artwork Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil and Ash on Canvas
46 x 38 inches 117 x 97 cm
Poet: Roy Nachum

Falling fast backwards into deep water.

As my eyes opened I knew that I was naked.

Floating on the waters surface.

Alone with the reflections of myself.

5. "FIRE Part II"
Interior Artwork Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil and Ash on Canvas
46 x 38 inches / 117 x 97 cm
Poet: Roy Nachum

My face in deep shadows.

Dreams and ideas beyond limits.

The future is all I have to look forward to.

I turn myself inside out.

Only then am I whole.

6. "FIRE Part III"
Interior Artwork Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil and Ash on Canvas
46 x 38 inches / 117 x 97 cm
Poet: Roy Nachum

Clouds replace the sunlight.

Expanding into the darkness.

The shoreline covered with night.

Backward strokes,

Deep breaths, salt air.

7. "R‎"
Interior Artwork Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil On Canvas
90 x 7o inches / 229 x 178 cm

R