This is Philip Trusttum's 'The great gate of Kiev', one of the 70 canvases he produced in early 2003 to accompany Martin Setchell's organ performance of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an exhibition. Mussorgsky had originally composed the music in 1874 in response to the death of his friend, artist Viktor Hartmann. In 2003 Trusttum was invited to reverse the sequence and paint works in response to the music. The result was an impressive series of canvases which eventually totalled 140. The original 70 were hung in the auditorium of the Christchurch Town Hall and projected onto a large screen while the music played. Trusttum, a student of Rudolf Gopas and his tradition of European expressionism, had often been marginalised as a painter not concerned with nationalist issues of land and identity. But this subject inspired in him an outpouring of imaginative paintings which were rich in imagery drawn from many cultures.
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