Before lockdown, we went along to the MAC to check out The Influence Project, which celebrated the impact black musicians have had on sound, culture, and how they still influence artists and society today.
The exhibition, which came to an end on March 22, showcased a series of portraits of over 100 black artists from both past and present, whilst the whole exhibition demonstrated the development of different sounds and genres and how they’ve resulted in the music we have today.
The quality and composition of the pictures was outstanding, photographer Alexis Chabala and curator Lorayne Crawford did an amazing job of expressing each of the artist’s personalities and personas through a single head shot. The variety of faces that greeted you was a sea of inspiration and talent and was highly uplifting; one room captivated so much flair, power and individuality.
We were proud to see the Birmingham flag being flown high throughout this exhibition; Jorja Smith was the face of the campaign and MOBO award winner Laura Mvula could also be found hanging on the walls.
The Spotify playlist, curated by Lorayne Crawford which accompanied the images, was the icing on the cake. We loved walking around this exhibition and having the lyrics of the artists echoing around the room – it created a great atmosphere.
Tucked away in a corner was a touchscreen device, another segment which was entertaining and informative. The device allowed you to explore the history of music and its many sub-cultures and sub-genres – it gave context to this exhibition and was a great way to educate attendees.
Not only did The Influence Project feature some of Birmingham’s best talent, but it also had the likes of George Clinton, Deniece Williams and Lauryn Hill – all revolutionary artists, who have had a huge impact on the music industry and this exhibition credits them beautifully.
Though The Influence Project has come to an end at the MAC, Birmingham, the exhibition is being shown throughout the UK — we highly recommend you check it out if you can!