The commission arising out of London-based artist Harun Morrison’s joint residency at Horniman Museum and Gardens and Delfina Foundation is on-show from 11 June in the National History Gallery at Horniman Museum.
Titled Dolphin Head Mountain, the year-long shifting display arises out of Harun’s 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 together alongside a focus on the Jamaican Swallowtail Butterfly, that was 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 in Jamaica’s western mountain range is one of the proposed locations for the butterfly’s repopulation, a name that emerges from the resemblance of the sea mammal in the mountain’s profile.
Running until April 2023, a section of the display includes a guest space, hosting contribution’s from other artists and writers engaged in decolonial practice.
Interpretation materials in the Natural History Gallery and Defences of Animals, a gallery publication from 1972, are used as a score for a performance and soundwork. This will recur intermittently around the collection over the duration of the exhibition.
The next performance of Defences of Animals (30 mins) will take place on 1 and 2 September, performed by Clara Saito across the Natural History Gallery at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm.
In 2021 Harun Morrison was selected from an open call for a joint residency at Horniman Museum and Gardens and Delfina Foundation. Harun participated in Delfina Foundation’s Collecting as Practice programme as a UK associate artist in 2021. The joint residency sought to inform a final commissioned artwork to be displayed at the Horniman in 2022.