Something fishy will haunt Scarborough Art Gallery visitors on reopening from May 18

Scarborough Museums Trust documentation assistant Ela Bochenek with an item from the Animal Hauntings exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery from May 18. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

ANIMAL Hauntings will take over Scarborough Art Gallery from May 18 to September 22, led by a tunny fish.

The exhibition combines film and objects from the Scarborough Museums Trust collection to ask what, in times of environmental uncertainty, we can learn from the ghosts of animals past in order to create more solid future relationships with the natural world.

Among those objects will be a tunny fish that was a favourite exhibit for many in a former life when the gallery’s neighbour, Woodend, was a natural history museum, together with examples of taxidermy, such as a pair of the now-extinct passenger pigeon, and equipment used by the “climmers” that once abseiled down Yorkshire’s East Coast cliffs in search of seabird eggs.

Tunny fishing and climming are the subject of two films from the Yorkshire Film Archive that form part of the exhibition, alongside moving images by artist Fiona Tan and exhibition curator and artist Martha Cattell.

Martha says: “The exhibition is inspired by Woodend’s past as a natural history museum, and by the book Arts Of Living On a Damaged Planet: Ghosts And Monsters Of The Anthropocene, an anthology of work by 20 eminent writers.

“Humans have long been fascinated with and reliant on non-human animals for food, transport, clothing and as pets. We are haunted by past connections to animals and many of the objects within the collection reflect this.

The full-size model of a tunny fish, cast from the original, that will be a star of the Scarborough Museums Trust collection on show in Animal Hauntings at Scarborough Art Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

“With more than 35,500 species threatened with extinction, this exhibition uses objects and moving image to highlight the entangled relationships between animals and humans, and offers ways of looking with animals, and not just at them.”

Scarborough Museums Trust will run a series of events inspired by the exhibition, to be announced on its website and social media channels in the coming weeks.

Animal Hauntings will run alongside two more exhibitions at Scarborough Art Gallery over the same dates: Scarborough: Our Seaside Town and Laughton’s Legacies.

The venue has been awarded VisitEngland ‘s We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying adherence to government and public health guidance on Covid-19. All three exhibitions are on the ground floor and are fully wheelchair-accessible.

Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery is by annual pass, whose £3 cost gives unlimited entry to both the gallery and the Rotunda Museum for a year.

Opening hours at Scarborough Art Gallery are 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sundays, plus Bank Holidays.

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