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First Fridays at South Australia’s Art Gallery (AGSA) provide an opportunity to experience art after-hours without the daily crowds. Last night saw brilliant local poets Jill Jones and Alison Flett read poetry inspired by the current exhibition Clarice Beckett: The present moment.

‘The boatshed’, 1929, Clarice Beckett, image courtesy of AGSA

This stunning collection is split into the times of day Clarice enjoyed painting – sunrise, daylight, sunset and moonlight – with each room lit accordingly. Her work is exquisite. Using a limited palette, she captures shimmering scenes that although everyday, have an ethereal quality, best viewed from a distance to heighten the depth of each piece.

And the poetry was just as stunning. Introduced by the gallery’s director, Jill and Alison identified the work or works their words sought to frame, then alternated between themselves, as well as haiku and longer poems. Both captured the delicate movement and light streaming through Clarice’s art superbly, insightful gifts beautifully rendered.

I plan to revisit the exhibition before it closes, compelled in fact. It moved me, swept me elsewhere and yet now, left me with Alison’s lines on life and our place in it and Jill’s question – how much do we need to love the world?

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