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What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare." (William Henry Davies)
The poets had it right we move too fast. Technology prods us, work pulls us, our leisure is filled with too many activities to really qualify as leisure.
Which is partly why the Slow Movement crawled into being.
There is now the concept of Slow Cities (let's bike ride to work), Slow Food (let's eat heritage varieties which are locally grown and take time and care to prepare.)
Now there is even a go slow day to celebrate Slow Art This day dawdles along and arrives every year on April 27th.
Studies show that gallery visitors whizz past works of art giving most no more than 17 seconds of their time. Even the Louvre's Mona Lisa only gets 15 seconds on average. That should wipe the smile off her face.
There are 13 venues in Australia offering slow art tours this April the 27th and fittingly the NGV seems to have one of the best programs for the day.
You get to concentrate on some of the national art collection pieces, including The burghers of Calais (1885-86) by August Rodin and The battle (1981-83) by John Brack and give them the attention they so richly deserve.
You then join others for an interesting facilitated discussion after the viewing.
You then choose from this list below which includes Wandjina (1980) by Alec Minegelmanganu or Nacres [Mother of pearl] (c.1926) by Amédée Ozenfant (or both) so that you have some common discussion points with the other participants.
Then you turn up at the National Gallery of Australia between 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm and study your selected works for at least 10 minutes each.
At 3.00 pm everyone joins up in the Small Theatre for a discussion.
NGA staff facilitating the program will wander between the listed works to have a chat with you -- but otherwise the program is self-guided.
You are welcome to bring a notepad or sketch pad and drawing pencils. Stools are on hand so you don't get too tired. These are available near the main entrance.
There are also a host of other Slow Art tours in Australia and overseas. But this one is particularly pertinent in understanding some of our national treasures. For other venues click here.