DIGITAL EXHIBITION : BLACK HISTORY MONTH

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From February 2021

Iconic Images celebrates Black History Month with an homage to the black photographers, artists, musicians, politicians and athletes who played an influential – and often pivotal – role in their respective fields and beyond.

From the archive of Ted Williams, a noted jazz photographer who covered the jazz scene of 1950s Chicago and whose work was published in Time, Newsweek and Ebony, we look at some of the key figures who redefined the genre and set the standards for subsequent generations: Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane and many more.

Following Williams’s 1950s Chicago, we look at the new wave of musicians who cemented their iconic status in the 60s, 70s and beyond. From Tina Turner to Ray Charles, Billie Holiday to Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder to Bob Marley, it is a who’s-who of twentieth century music. The exhibition includes the (in)famous photograph of Jimi Hendrix setting fire to his guitar on stage at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival in 1967.

This exhibition explores Black History beyond music or indeed the United States. Central pieces of the exhibition include photographs of Martin Luther King Jr. making an impassioned speech to the crowd at the Illinois Rally for Civil Rights in Chicago in 1964. We also showcase photographs taken in South Africa in 1994, the first year South African elections were open to citizens of all races; fast-forward to 2008 for photographs of Nelson Mandela taken for the celebration of his 90th Birthday Tribute held in London.  

This exhibition brings together pioneers across different industries. They are fashion models – Donyale Luna, Iman, Naomi Campbell – who broke through the fashion industry’s tacit preference for white models, with the former becoming the first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1966. They are actors and filmmakers – such as Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman – who rewrote the rules in Hollywood. And sometimes – like Muhammad Ali – they are quite simply icons.

Iconic Favourites

Iman, 1976
by Norman Parkinson

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Jimi Hendrix, 1967
by Gered Mankowitz

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Nelson Mandela, 2008
by Terry O'Neill

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Ray Charles, 1985
by Norman Seeff

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Prince
by Steve Parke

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Bob Marley, 1978
by Kevin Cummins

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Dizzy Gillespie, 1960
by Ted Williams

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Pele, 2013
by Terry O'Neill

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Martin Luther King, 1964
by Ted Williams

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Barrack Obama, 2016
by Greg Brennan

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Aretha Franklin
by Norman Parkinson

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Spike Lee, 1993
by Terry O'Neill

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Betty Davis, 1970
by Baron Wolman

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Muhammad Ali, 1977
by Michael Brennan

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DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, 1989
by Janet Macoska

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Sidney Poitier, 1981
by Michael Grecco

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