The Hugh Lane Gallery and street artist Abestos install tribute mural on O’Connell Street

The Hugh Lane Gallery and famed street artist Asbestos have installed an incredible mural to honour lives lost to Covid-19

The mural will be part of a wider initiative of the gallery to move its summer exhibits outdoors

The Hugh Lane Gallery in Parnell Square, Dublin, has collaborated with a renowned street artist to install a large mural that pays tribute to the lives lost to Covid-19 in Ireland since the pandemic began in March 2020. 

Celebrated artist, Asbestos, in collaboration with the Dublin gallery, has painted and installed this large mural, titled “Pass Freely”, on the side wall of the AIB building on the famous O’Connell Street

This mural has the form of a figure, and is made up of many painted and burnt matches. Interestingly, each one represents a life lost due to Covid -19. Moreover, the mural will be updated with even more matches until the pandemic comes to an end.  

Asbestos, an Irish artist who has worked with street and other visual arts through a variety of mediums, said each match on the mural will be representative of a life that has been lost in Ireland, “each extinguished at a different stage of existence. Each life cut short, along with their hopes, ambitions, and memories.”

The duration of the entire process stretched over 10 days, wherein Asbestos painted each match after which he repeated a quote from Joseph Beuys that read, “pass freely from one level of existence to another”. 

The aforementioned quote has been taken from Buey’s book, The Secret Block for a Secret Person in Ireland, which was published in 1974

The mural is part of a bigger programme being led by the Office of City Recovery. The Hugh Lane Gallery plans to move its summer programme exhibits outside and onto the streets to better engage with the Dublin public. 

Additionally, early last month, brand new light boxes were unveiled in Smithfield with images of various artworks and sculptures from the gallery’s collections.


195997942 10160086631774625 5851010484971911261 n       196284832 10160086631709625 4052170041407584036 nCredits: Dublin City Council 

Consequently, according to the Hugh Lane Gallery, a series of talks and engagement events will take place throughout this year, which will explore different aspects of Irish street art and writer Joseph Beuys. 

The painted mural can be seen by the public now and will be on display until the end of this year. 

For more information on the Hugh Lane Gallery and Asbestos, visit or follow their social media handles: @thehughlane and @artofabestos.

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About the author

Gandharva Joshi

Recent MPhil in Art History and Architecture from Trinity College, holds great passion for the arts, culture and heritage industries. Arts Instagram- @notjoshie


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