Last Breath is a short film by artist Marie Brett exploring ideas of an ultimate great unknown: the experience of death and dying. Inspired by Epic poetry, Irish folklore and time spent with palliative care staff, the artwork draws viewers into a multi-layered narrative, where time slows and metaphysical landscapes unfold. Last Breath will be screened with an artist discussion at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) on Thursday 1 November 2018. 

Marie Brett produced the work following a residency at UCD’s College of Social Science and Law and a participatory project with palliative care and other healthcare staff. The work was supported by IMMA and UCD Parity Studios and received an Arts Council AIC award, managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts in Ireland.


Following the screening, Brett and invited guest Patricia Lysaght will discuss the traditions, rituals and folklore imagination of death and the dying experience in relation to a changing Ireland and more broadly in a secular society. Drawing on their shared interests in Irish folklore as a source behind Brett’s film, discussion participants will reflect on issues of fear, protection and how the living are affected by the dead within historical traditions, customs, as well as Irish art contexts. This discussion will be chaired by art writer and curator, Catherine Marshall.


Marie Brett produces artwork in response to culturally shunned human behaviours with particular interests in lived experience of loss and trauma. She makes filmic, audio-sculptural, and event-based works, for gallery and flux-off-site locations. Her practice develops through socially engaged methods, particularly exploring ethical and aesthetic relations to the politics of cultural production. Brett is currently a participant on the IMMA Residency Programme.

Patricia Lysaght is Professor emerita of European Ethnology and Folkloristics, University College Dublin. She is also a qualified lawyer and an elected member of the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy, Uppsala, Sweden, which awarded her the Torsten Janckes minnesfond prize for her outstanding contribution to scholarship. She is an elected member of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, a former editor of Béaloideas, the Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society, and of Folklore, the journal of The Folklore Society, UK. She is currently President of The Folklore Society, London, which presented her with the Coote Lake Medal for research excellence in 2013.

Catherine Marshall is a freelance art writer and curator. She has worked as the Head of Collections at IMMA (1995- 2007), when she was seconded to the Arts Council of Ireland and later to the Royal Irish Academy where she co-edited Vol. V of the Art and Architecture of Ireland (Dublin and New Haven, 2014). She has been a lecturer in the History of Art Department at TCD (1986 -1995) and a guest lecturer in UCD, NCAD and at the National Gallery of Ireland. She has curated exhibitions of Irish art in Ireland, the United States, Canada and China. She is currently head of the steering committee for Age and Opportunity’s Bealtaine and Samhain Festivals. She has published widely on Irish art.

Date: Thursday 1 November 2018
Location: Lecture Room, IMMA
Time: 6.30 – 8.00pm
Booking: This event is free, advance booking is advised.
Booking link:


Sign up to our e-bulletin to keep up to date with the latest news and opportunities.