Featuring portraits of over 100 artists and a selection of photographs shown publicly for the first time, the Influence Project is an ongoing photography project that celebrates pioneering black musicians and their impact on contemporary sounds, bringing together musical connections, raising awareness of its origins and highlighting some of the characters involved in changing the shape of music.
Bringing together stories of artists from across the globe, including those with strong Birmingham connections such as MOBO Award-winner Laura Mvula, Walsall-born, Soul singer/songwriter Jorja Smith, plus celebrated Jazz musician Soweto Kinch, The Influence Project exhibition chronicles musical pioneers from the mid-to-late 20th century.
Other artists featured in the exhibition include Cypress Hill, Sister Sledge, Public Enemy, revolutionary R&B influencer and force behind the Parliament/Funkadelic machine, George Clinton, Soul legend and Grammy Award-winner Deniece Williams, intergalactic travellers and Afrofuturism trailblazers Sun Ra Arkestra, Motown diva Martha Reeves, Hip Hop artist Lauryn Hill, collective The Roots, and R&B sensation Angie Stone.
These innovators of sound sit alongside contemporary artists such as Dr Dre protégé Anderson Paak, UK artist and rapper Little Simz, and multi-instrumentalist, composer and bandleader Shabakah Hutchings, whose music was recently featured in Beyoncé’s Homecoming film.
Alexis and Lorayne have captured the characters of these musical icons and their contemporaries through beautiful portraiture, film and sound, offering visitors a unique and important interpretation of musical history and illustrating connections to contemporary artists so that younger generations can appreciate the significance of these relationships.
With thanks to Exhibition Technology Partner Allsee Technologies for loaning equipment, and to Arts Council England for their generous support.
The Influence Project can be seen at the MAC from Saturday 18th January to Sunday 22nd March. Entrance to the exhibition is FREE. For more information, visit here: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/the-influence-project