• Photo by Steve O'Connor

A Year of the Heart

A Year of the Heart

A Year of the Heart explores themes of martyrdom, betrayal, tragedy and beauty by drawing from the European tradition of Christian art and music. The project connects Ireland and Italy through the political history and artistic content of Caravaggio's ‘The Taking of Christ’ (1602), which arrived to Ireland from Rome in the 1920s and is currently housed at the National Gallery of Ireland. A Year of the Heart incorporates classical Requiem and Passion music traditions, including vernacular Passion music associated with religious parades in Italy. Artistically, the piece wrestles with the act of blood sacrifice: the shedding of blood in ritual sacrifice believed to release vital forces that sustains life, or the sacrifice of life so that an idea might live, as exemplified by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and replicated by Irish revolutionary martyr Pádraig Pearse. 

Team: Directed, choreographed and designed by Emily Aoibheann. Further design by 1iing heaney and Mona Power. Featuring: Bríain Hudson and Brian Francis Devaney. Musical dramaturgy by Michelle O’Rourke. Additional musical dramaturgy by Jane Hackett. Originally developed in collaboration with aerialist Georgina Cassels. Research images feature aerialist Sophia Bikova. 

Development: A Year of the Heart has been in development since January 2022. The research was consolidated through two residencies in 2023, at Dance House Dublin and as a visiting artist at the National Gallery of Ireland. A Year of the Heart is part of a series of work relating to Irish history and ethnic identity. Other work in this series include Inheritance and The Flag, also in development. 

Support: This work is made possible through a residency award from Dance Ireland and financial support from Dublin Circus Project, Catalyst Award and Fingal County Council artist bursary. Special thanks to Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely for their support in kind.