The Influence Project celebrates the impact that leading Black musicians have had on contemporary sound and culture, and their enduring creative, social and political influence on new generations of artists. The exhibition is a collaboration between photographer Alexis Chabala and curator Lorayne Crawford.
The collection features portraits of over 100 artists, plus a selection of photographs shown publicly for the first time ever.
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 chronicles musical pioneers from the mid-to-late 20th century.
Other artists featured in the exhibition include 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, who’s 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.
The Influence Project investigates connections between established pioneers and emerging artists, reaching across time to shape the sounds that we hear today.
With thanks to Exhibition Technology Partner Allsee Technologies for loaning equipment, and to Arts Council England for their generous support.
Image: Jorja Smith, London (2018) C-Type © Alexis Chabala
Get a feel for The Influence Project's playlist on Spotify, serving soulful, funky vibes - all handpicked and smoothly curated by Lorayne Crawford.