In Canberra – Speaking of Portraits

Natl Port Gall Australia 2 of 2From Canberra, Australia, Annette Twyman of the National Portrait Gallery reports  “great success” on Slow Art Day:

The participants, all strangers to one another, took their stools, floor plans and notebooks and headed into the gallery space.  After 15 minutes with each of five portraits, we met for coffee, tea, biscuits and a chat about their experience of slow art in the NPG.  Among their comments:

“I have never done anything like this before, I have sat very still and after a while I really started to look; it was great. Some of the portraits were very detailed and symbolic and some seemed  simpler, but every one was interesting.  I could have spent longer …”

“I would not have chosen these portraits, but … they made me look; one was difficult and I stayed with it, now especially after our discussion I am glad that I did that.”

“The portraits said a lot about women, just the change between the early placid portrait of Ann Lawrence (1841) and then penetrating Norah Heysen (1934) and then the video portrait of Cate Blanchett (2008), a big difference. But after a while I noticed maybe Ann Lawrence was thinking, her eyes looked very different from her mouth; maybe she was not happy being so passive.”

“I have enjoyed our talk afterwards, everyone is so full of their own ideas;  it is very good to be able to have that quiet look on your own at the art without anyone else and then talk together afterwards.”

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