Haroon Mirza

Nominated By: Louisa Briggs, Curator of Visual Art, Museums Sheffield
Region: Sheffield, Yorkshire

Haroon MirzaHaroon Mirza creates sculptural assemblages and installations that are often heard before they are seen. He uses household objects such as found furniture, outmoded musical equipment, lamps and television sets to generate a seemingly infinite field of sound. Mirza seeks to isolate the moments where noise is perceived as sound and sound is perceived as music by exploring the distinctions between hearing and listening. His subjects vary from club culture to religious faith and are invariably contextualised by moments in musical history. Mirza regularly includes existing works by other artists within his installations in the same way that he works with materials; he draws on something existing and attempts to alter their function by combining and forming a much larger musical as well as visual composition.

Anthemoessa, is the combination of three works comprised of Birds of Pray (2010), SOS (2010) and Adhãn (2009). Taken from Greek mythology the title, Anthemoessa, is the island where the Sirens are said to have lived, luring unsuspecting sailors to their demise by calling out their beautiful song. Birds of Pray is a portrait of two Sirens in which the song is created through malfunctioning electrical items such as a strip light, radio and turntable. The work is installed to include Edward Armitage’s (1812-1902) painting The Siren, (1888) that has been removed from the Victorian collection and incorporated into the installation. Moreover, spill from the video projection points towards the Armitage painting, which subtly further suggests the works latent narrative. SOS is a siren in itself. An energy saving light bulb slowly revolves over a transistor radio causing interference that generates a sonic accompaniment to the film, Adhãn. Originally commissioned to be screened during the Istanbul Biennale, Adhãn is a transcription of the Islamic call to prayer with all the words having been replaced by musical motifs. The video alludes to the contradictions surrounding the engagement with music in the Islamic faith famously made explicit by Cat Stevens giving up a career in music after converting to Islam. Together the works suggest the inner meanings of and relationship between myth, religion, music and death.


Haroon Mirza holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design and an MA in Design Critical Practice and Theory, from Goldsmiths’ College. His first solo exhibition was at The A-Foundation, Liverpool (2009) and he participated in Boule To Braid at Lisson Gallery, London, and the Sheffield Pavilion, Istanbul, both 2009. His work is in the British Art Show 7 opening in Nottingham 2010. He currently lives and works in Sheffield and London.