Family Fun at the Art Gallery of South Australia

COLOURS OF IMPRESSIONISM: MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSÉE D’ORSAY 
29 March-29 July 2018 

 2018 ADELAIDE BIENNIAL OF AUSTRALIAN ART: DIVIDED WORLDS
3 March – 3 June 2018
Free admission

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Nympheas Water Lily Basin Pink Harmony by Claude Monet

Now is a great time to visit the Art Gallery of South Australia, especially with children. As parents, we’ve tried to encourage a love of art galleries and museums which is not always that easy. Our kids love to draw, so we’d always visit any gallery with a wad of paper and pencils. Sometimes we’d sit in front of an exhibit – the taxidermy display of animals at the South Australian Museum was probably the most successful when they were little – and draw for at least an hour. Other times we’d sit on the floor in the Art Gallery and ignore the guards’ worried glances and regular walk-bys and copy a painting (or drawing something completely unrelated – at least we were out of the house). We’d often go to the START Sundays at the Art Gallery (my daughter ended up on a poster – blurry and in the background but I know it’s her!).

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Elder Wing Art Gallery of SA
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Elder Wing Art Gallery of SA

Sadly, as they got older, these trips diminished but we were ecstatic when the Art Gallery established The Studio, where kids can have hands-on fun with the latest creative activity run in tandem with whatever exhibition is showing.

Unfortunately, after the most boring school excursion to the Art Gallery a couple of years ago, where the kids were sat in front of various paintings and a very nice lady discussed their merits, my son put the Art Gallery at the top of his most hated places to visit. I don’t blame him – I tried desperately as a parent volunteer on this excursion to wake up the kids who were stretched out on the floor. Yes, it was mortifying to have 6 of the 12 kids literally asleep on the floor, but you know what? I was bored too!

Since then we’ve managed outings to the Museum, my daughter loves the Egyptology room but the art gallery has been strictly off limits.

When my mum suggested a trip to the art gallery over Easter to see the Impressionist exhibition I was torn between the image of a lovely family outing and horror. Thankfully, it fell somewhere in between. My son looked uninterestedly at most of the works by these groundbreaking and famous artists but had a great time in The Studio, where he sat world building with Melbourne based Ghostpatrol’s creative activity.

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Artwork by Ghostpatrol
Ghostpatrol Inspired Activity
Ghostpatrol Inspired Activity created in The Studio

Meanwhile, my daughter loved the Impressionist works, especially the glorious depictions of snow. I agreed with her choices: Rooftops in the Snow by Gustave Caillebotte; The Winter by Charles-François Daubigny and The Magpie by Claude Monet were our favourite.

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The Magpie by Claude Monet
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Rooftops in the Snow by Gustave Caillebotte

It was lovely to see a number of other children wandering around this exhibition and thankfully no one ended up on the floor. There was a moment when my nephew, who is 7, looked like he may lose the plot but my daughter brilliantly distracted him by asking what monetary value he would place on each artwork. Well, that was it. The two of them spent the next hour cataloguing the Art Gallery’s collection!

Just when we thought our trip was over we stumbled into the Divided World exhibition. It was my daughter who in true explorer fashion ventured down the darkened staircase and came back urging us to follow. With my nephew in tow, we discovered eerie worlds, intriguing worlds and sweet, sugary worlds. Most of our senses were stimulated and our sense of awe was roused on more than one occasion. Note there was one room we did avoid that projected images of naked people dancing and having spasms. Cut to look of incredulity and semi-disgust of an 11 yr old. I’m sure this work, if I’d been allowed to go in, would’ve proved very interesting.

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Gigantic silver filigree work by Tim Horn

Pip & Pop 1

Pip & Pop
A Sugary World created by Pip & Pop

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Thin Walls Between Dimensions by Roy Ananda

We left the Art Gallery feeling very tired but incredibly stimulated and buoyed by what turned out to be an entertaining and captivating day.

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