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A Day in the Art Gallery

Updated on December 20, 2011
Standing outside the South Australian Art Gallery - no photos allowed inside!
Standing outside the South Australian Art Gallery - no photos allowed inside!

The Art Gallery of South Australia is a cluster of culture and the heart of the creative world in Adelaide, drawing those of various interests into one place. The side entrance gives a modern vibe as the automated glass doors slide open, giving way to the lobby. To the left is a reception desk, where a sign informs the public that any large bags must be left behind the counter. On the opposite side of the room is a glass and marble staircase, giving you the choice of walking to the floor above or below.

I made my way up the stairs with my heels clacking loudly on the marble-like surface. I slow down and tread softer, trying to lower the volume of my footsteps as I pass through galleries of sculptures and modern art. Up ahead, I see a room with an oval leather couch in the centre. I head towards that direction, thinking it would be a good place to start my assignment.

As I enter the room, I hear a loud humming from the generator of the air conditioner. Above the high entrance, GALLERY 15 was elegantly spelled out in large golden letters. The room seemed busier than the others I passed through, with the sounds of shuffling footsteps echoing on the varnished wooden floor.

I sat in front of a particular painting – one of Jesus Christ being lifted off his cross by his friends and family. I used this as my cover, hoping those who passed by me would think I was writing about the picture in front of me, although I would actually be observing them.

One who seemed thoroughly interested in the painting was an elderly man who zigzagged across the room, as a child does in a toy store. He seemed unsure on where his attention should focus next. His eyes were bright, matching those of his lime green shirt, reflecting joy and a hint of curiousity as he read the descriptions of every artefact in the room. I felt his happiness as I watched him buzz from painting to painting.

To my dismay, not everyone shared the same passion as the elderly man as they browsed through the gallery. One particular frizzy blond-haired young woman showed a lack of interest in the paintings on display. She showed as much affection for the artwork as she did with her unkempt, frizzled hair. Her interest was feigned as she read small passages next to the pictures. Her eyes remained void of emotion as she entered the next gallery.

At intervals, a security guard would pass through the room, usually being a female. As they walked pass, they would glance at me and give me a smile, and so I returned the gesture. I think they had noticed that I had been sitting on the couch for a while, scribbling away in my journal.

It had escaped my attention that I had been sitting in the gallery for longer than I had originally planned, realizing if I didn’t hurry, I would miss my train home. I left feeling content as my mind drifted to the thoughts of the elderly man, hoping that he could see as much beauty in his current life as he did with those carefully crafted pictures he lovingly gazed upon.


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