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In 2022, composer Arun Ghosh put Saint Francis of Assisi's prayer 'The Canticle of the Sun' to music. The spiritual jazz reimagining was performed in churches, cathedrals and sacred spaces across the country. 

Here, playing an excerpt of the music in our 'Saint Francis of Assisi' exhibition, Arun talks to Dr Joost Joustra, Ahmanson Research Associate Curator in Art and Religion, about how he first discovered Saint Francis and his prayer, and what it means to him.

They share their thoughts on one of the highlight works in the exhibition – 'Saint Francis in Meditation' – by the 17th-century Spanish painter, Francisco de Zurbarán.

Arun Ghosh live in concert
6.30pm, Friday 28 July 2023
See Arun perform 'The Canticle of the Sun', live in Room 32 at the National Gallery. Admission free

Arun Ghosh

Arun Ghosh is a British-Asian clarinettist, bandleader and composer. Twice awarded 'Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year' at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, Arun leads his own ensembles, touring nationally and internationally. He has released five albums on camoci records: 'Northern Namaste', 'Primal Odyssey', 'A South Asian Suite', 'but where are you really from?', and 'Seclused in Light'.

Arun regularly works as a composer for theatre and film, and as a musical director and educator. Arun is currently touring with sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar, and working on his sixth album, due for release in 2024.

Dr Joost Joustra 

Joost Joustra is the Ahmanson Research Associate Curator in Art and Religion at the National Gallery, co-curator of the exhibition 'Saint Francis of Assisi', and a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s College London.

In 2020, he curated the exhibition 'Sin' at the National Gallery and authored the accompanying book, 'Sin: The Art of Transgression', exploring how sin has been depicted in art for centuries. At King’s, he teaches on the Christianity & the Arts MA. Previously, Joost was the Sackler Research Forum Postdoctoral Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where he also wrote his doctoral thesis titled ‘Pictorial Space and Sacred Subject Matter in Florentine Painting, 1425-1466’.

Digital activity at the National Gallery is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies Digital Accelerator

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