A new exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery will celebrate happy accidents and joyful mess aiming to brighten the winter months.

Displayful will invite visitors to enjoy uplifting contemporary artistic responses to objects from the collections of Scarborough Museums and Galleries (SMG).

Combining new work from five regional artists – Luke Beech, Kate Fox, Wendy Galloway, Liberty Hodes and Angela Knipe – alongside historical artefacts, Displayful invites audiences to consider new possibilities for the lives of objects.

Curator Dorcas Taylor says: “In a post-pandemic society, we want our museums and galleries to play a positive role as spaces of sanctuary to support health and wellbeing. Displayful aims to encourage joy, laughter and self-expression amongst visitors, reinforcing that we all need access to art and creativity.

“Amongst a wide and deliberately random collection of objects, visitors can expect to see rabbits, a weasel and an impressive potato!”

The five artists are spending time in SMG’s extensive stores at Woodend, where they’re able to choose from thousands of objects to stimulate their creativity, some of which will be on display alongside their artworks, including an historic ducking stool and scold’s bridle; a taxidermied ginger cat, weasel and lobster; and Mr Tinkler's rheumatic potato – a potato carried as a charm against rheumatism.

Luke Beech is a multimedia artist whose recent works include a number of performances, sculptures and characteristically low-tech moving image pieces, undertaken to help him make sense of his own mental health. Drawing on his own experience he relates to wider social issues in creating subtle and sensitive performative statements that provide a visceral engagement for audiences. He is a founder member and director of The Feral Art School cooperative in Hull.

A Bradford-born stand-up poet, who has been Poet in Residence for the Glastonbury Festival, Great North Run and Radio 4’sSaturday Live, Kate Fox is a regular contributor to Radio 3’s The Verb. She has a PhD in stand-up comedy and is touring a show called Bigger on the Inside about neurodiversity through the lens of Dr Who. Kate is currently exploring neurodivergent joy as a practice to counteract stereotypes and misery.

Wendy Galloway is a practising textile artist living on the Yorkshire coast. Her inspirations come from social, folklore and historical objects and observations, using these influences to make unique and quirky creations. Wendy’s preferred medium is recycled fabrics and what she calls chaotic stitching. Believing that making things that show imperfections is a clear indication of the artist’s mind at work, every perfection and imperfection in her work is a deliberate artistic choice.

Liberty Hodes is an artist and facilitator based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, currently based at The NewBridge Project in Shieldfield. Their practice spans multiple disciplines with a focus on performance, video and installation. A common theme is bringing a feeling of ancientness into a contemporary context, exploring links between stone circles and tower blocks and bollards, and using the language of British folk performance to enact demolitions of cardboard replicas of buildings in Newcastle. In 2021 Liberty graduated from an MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths in 2021 following a BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts in 2015, and has since taken part in The NewBridge Project’s alternative education programme The Collective Studio. Recently they have shown work at Middlesbrough Art Week and the Old Parcels Office Space.

After spending her early years in Scarborough, Angela Knipe maintained a strong connection and moved back permanently almost 20 years ago. Despite lacking any formal training, her creative journey began in the commercial realm of greetings card design, leading to publication with a number of renowned card companies. As her designs often involved collage, transitioning from paper to textiles felt like a natural evolution. This led her to craft textile jewellery, aiming at playfulness under the banner Jewellery to put a smile on your face. She opened her own shop in Scarborough, showcasing her textile jewellery. Her work is often whimsical, featuring animals and objects that evoke a sense of amusement, and has sold in galleries across London and the north of England.

Displayful can be seen at the gallery until Tuesday, May 7.

Scarborough Art Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Monday (plus Bank Holidays). Entry is free with an annual pass (£3), which also allows unlimited free entry to the Rotunda Museum.

For more information go to www.scarboroughmuseumsandgalleries.org.uk