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April 2004: Passport to the New Millenium

The people of Christchurch have a new major public artwork, held for all time by the Christchurch City Council, thanks to five years of fundraising by the Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA). Passport to the New Millennium by Philip Trusttum, one of New Zealand's most recognised contemporary artists, is installed in Christchurch Convention Centre.

Cathy Hemsworth & Brent Ford of the Christchurch Convention Centre, Cr Anna Crighton, CoCA director Warren Feeney and artist Philip Trusttum attended the official event to mark the milestone of the public acquisition of the 84 metre long mural Passport to the New Millennium by Philip Trusttum. This marked the successful completion of a four-year fund raising drive to secure the major work in Christchurch and in one permanent home.

Cr Anna Crighton said it makes a significant contribution to public art in Christchurch and is one of the jewels in the city's public art crown. It was largely her initiative that secured the major work in public ownership. "It is a significant national and international work, an incredible reminder of the new millennium for which it was painted. Public and community support in the community enabled the work to stay here, rather than go to Auckland." The work is displayed on the soaring northwestern wall of the Convention Centre, where it is easily accessible for the general public as well as national and international convention goers to enjoy.

In 'Passport to the Millenium', the artist's ideas come to life. Trusttum's visual thoughts and gestures expand from the earliest panels (closely based on his working drawings) sited by Kilmore Street in the Convention Centre, to the fully animated and improvised iconography in the later panels close to Peterborough Street. "It's a magnificent artwork in all senses of the word: large in scale, rich in its iconography, and a genuinely joyful aesthetic experience. It was a real pleasure to work on securing funds for such a major public artwork," says CoCA Director Warren Feeney. "Challenged by the task of completing an artwork to celebrate the new century, Philip Trusttum may have begun with the Oxford Dictionary definition of the word "Millennium".

But 'Passport' has an additional life beyond words and phrases that embraces a scale of art making inspired by Abstract Expressionism, yet informed by an imagery that references the art of the Pacific region and an exuberance that is typical of the best of his work."