Hugh Lane Gallery collaborates on street art in honour of lives lost to Covid-19

Mural is part of wider initiative to move gallery’s summer programme outdoors

The Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin has collaborated with a street artist to install a mural paying tribute to lives lost to Covid-19 in Ireland during the pandemic.

Renowned street artist Asbestos has installed “Pass Freely”, a large mural on the side wall of the AIB building on O’Connell St.

The mural takes the form of a figure made of painted burnt matches. Each one represents one of the people who have died from Covid -19. During its lifetime the mural will be updated with more matches until the pandemic is over.

Asbestos, an Irish artist who works on the street in a variety of media, said each match on the mural “represents the life of a person who has passed away in Ireland during the Covid pandemic, each extinguished at a different stage of existence. Each life cut short, along with their hopes, ambitions and the memories.”


Over a 10 day period, he painted each match and after they were finished he repeated the quote from Joseph Beuys “pass freely from one level of existence to another”.

The quote is from Beuys’s book The Secret Block for a Secret Person in Ireland and was chosen to mark the passing of each victim of Covid -19.

This initiative is part of a wider programme led by the Office of City Recovery. The Hugh Lane Gallery is moving its other summer programme exhibitions onto the street, including a response by artist Asbestos to its centenary celebration display of Joseph Beuys work.

Earlier this month new Light Boxes were unveiled in Smithfield with copies inside of art and sculpture from the Gallery.

An associated public series of talks and events will take place throughout 2021 exploring street art and Joseph Beuys.

The mural is visible now until the end of the year