The Escape Artist takes a photograph of the same name by James Van Der Zee (1886–1983) as its starting point. Shot in Harlem, New York, 1924, the picture features a smartly dressed, unidentified black man in chains, calmly posing towards the camera. This novel explores the material and metaphorical potential of this image and the picking of locks; reconstructing the day it was taken and the build up towards a staged escape act before a Harlem crowd in the 1920s.
Harun Morrison is an artist and writer currently living on a narrow boat in London. Alongside Helen Walker, he co-founded the collective art practice ‘They Are Here’ in 2006. He is the current 2020 Wheatley Fine Art Fellow. Forthcoming activities include an exhibition at Eastside Projects, Birmingham in 2021, new soundwork in the Dakar Biennial 2020 and the design of a community garden in Liverpool, Merseyside, commissioned by Rule of Threes. Since 2019 Harun has been a trustee of the Black Cultural Archive.