5 slow and easy ways to enjoy art
The painting Lotus in a Breeze by Singaporean artist Georgette Chen is a work of art that viewers can savour slowly and mindfully. (Photo: National Gallery Singapore)

5 slow and easy ways to enjoy art

If you are looking for ways to rediscover Singapore, art museums are a good place to start. You get to feast your eyes on great works of art, discover histories you never knew, and immerse yourself in culture. All that remains is overcoming any apprehension you might have of appreciating art.

For some, the museum-going experience can be unfamiliar and pressurising. Questions around how one should go about looking at art and appreciating it could leave one feeling perplexed. If you feel a little lost around wart, try the popular Slow Art programme organised by the National Gallery Singapore.

Each hour-long online session focuses on a work of art , and it guides participants on ways to observe, appreciate and talk about the work. The mindful process helps participants connect personally with the work, as well as reflect on their emotions. Indeed, the programme is part of the Gallery’s broader push to support the public and uplift spirits through art. 

The Gallery’s assistant director of community and access Alicia Teng says: “At the Gallery, we recognise the power of art to improve social and emotional well-being. Our Art and Wellness programmes such as Slow Art were created with the intention of allowing audiences to experience the therapeutic and restorative benefits of art.”

She acknowledges that the Slow Art sessions can also help those new to the visual arts feel less intimidated. “Our Slow Art programme aims to equip participants with basic visual literacy skills, which helps them gain confidence in art appreciation.  With their experience in the Slow Art programme, participants can apply what they’ve learnt to any artwork, making it more comfortable for them when they encounter art in the Gallery,” she says.

 For those looking to enjoy art at their own pace, here are five tips from Teng:

1. Let go of the notion that art is inaccessible
Erase the idea that one needs to know art to appreciate art. There is no right or wrong in how one connects with a work of art, and one does not need to be an expert on art to enjoy it.

2. Take your time
When you are at an art exhibition or gallery, remember that there is no need to rush to see everything. Take your time to observe a few art pieces that catch your eye. If possible, try not to read the description that accompanies the work first. Instead, look at the piece and ask yourself what drew your attention to the work, what details captivate you, and how the work makes you feel.

3. Bring a companion
Go with a friend to the museum or gallery. Share your thoughts about the art with each other. You might be surprised at how you may have very similar or different thoughts and experiences when looking at the same work of art.

4. Find facilitated activities
Join a tour or participate in a programme. The Gallery’s tours are free and led by trained volunteer docents who have interesting insights and stories to share. You can even ask the docent questions if you would like to find out more about the works.

5. Remember to have fun
Don’t forget that you are looking to have fun, not ace an art exam. So enjoy your personal journey of discovery of art and the conversations you have with friends as you explore the visual arts.

Learn more about the Slow Art programme and register for your free Slow Art session here.

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