Harun Morrison, Dolphin Head Mountain, Horniman Museum

Harun Morrison

Harun Morrison, Dolphin Head Mountain
Horniman Museum and Gardens
until April 2023

A solitary crocodile on a log, a telepathic butterfly, and a map of mining activity across Jamaica invite you to consider the connections and conflicts between conservation and different forms of extraction.

Dolphin Head Mountain is a shifting display by London based artist Harun Morrison. It shares his immersion in the ‘backstage’ areas of the Museum including the collection stores, piles of out-of-print publications, and curators’ offices.

Incidental findings and fictions are woven alongside a focus on the Jamaican Swallowtail Butterfly, present in the original Horniman Collection.

Harun references the species’ current endangered status and the conservation efforts to repopulate the butterfly in nearby substitutes for its original environment. These have been compromised by multiple factors, including industrial bauxite mining for aluminium.

Dolphin Head Mountain is one of the proposed locations for the butterfly’s repopulation. It is given its name by its similarity to the sea mammal in Jamaica’s Western Mountain Range.

Explanative Museum literature in the Natural History Gallery and, ‘Defences of Animals’, a gallery publication from 1972, is used as a score for a performance and soundwork. This  will recur intermittently around the collection over the duration of the exhibition.

A section of the year-long display will be a rotating guest space for other artists and writers engaged in decolonial practice. The current guest contribution is a series of four drawings titled, ‘Exodus’ (2022), by Eve Morrison.

As a UK associate artist for Collecting as Practice at Delfina Foundation, in partnership with the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Harun Morrison considered the politics of the museum’s collection and deaccession. Deploying the rhetorical device  prosopopoeia, in which a speaker communicates to an audience by speaking as another person or object, he constructed critical-fabulations through which the collection ‘speaks back’.

This display is supported by Delfina Foundation and the APAP network.