Top artists donate to Cork's first €50 anonymous sale

Top artists have donated to Leeside’s first €50 anonymous sale for the Jack and Jill Foundation, writes Marjorie Brennan.

IT IS the biggest art sale in Ireland, with the tiniest artworks, but as the organisers of the charity art fundraiser Incognito know all too well, good things come in small packages.

Since its inception two years ago, the art sale, which anonymously auctions postcard-sized pieces by Irish and international artists, has raised hundreds of thousands of euro for the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, which provides home nursing care for sick children throughout Ireland.

This year, Cork art lovers will be able to lend their support for the first time, with an exhibition taking place in the city’s Lavit Gallery.

Cork artist Angie Shanahan, pictured, is one of over 1,000 artists who has donated work to the exhibition, for a cause which is close to her heart.

“It is a wonderful thing to be involved with. There is a connection to the charity through my sister-in-law — her brother and his wife had a young daughter who received fantastic support from the Jack and Jill foundation. She died when she was five-and-a-half and as she became more ill, they received fantastic support from the charity. It was the only help they got at the time, it was 19 years ago. The charity does such amazing work.”

Shanahan, whose distinctive portrait of Michael Collins hangs in Dáil Éireann, is a member of the Backwater Artists Group based at Wandesford Quay in Cork, and has three pieces in the exhibition, an acrylic, linotype and etching. Working in such a small medium is something that she is used to. She is influenced by landscape, particularly the Irish islands, and also the city islands of Cork.

“My work is influenced by trips I’ve taken around Irish islands but I’m also conscious of the island city where I work, looking at the harbour as an area of sanctuary. I use the sketchbook when I’m out in the landscape or urban settings, to jot down ideas and do small thumbnail sketches so for me, the postcard size would be similar to that.”

This is the third year that celebrated Cork artist Tom Climent has donated work to Incognito.

Climent, who is well-known for his lush and colourful abstract pieces, says the postcards offer him the opportunity to work in a different way.

“When you undertake something that is slightly outside of your normal way of working, it is a great opportunity of challenge yourself and open yourself to discovering something new. I enjoyed the process, it was almost like trying to distill down the larger paintings I do.

"Once I decided on the orientation of the postcard, this informed the type of composition of the painting. The work then changed a bit as I painted it, but I approached it as if it was a normal painting I would do in the studio.”

The project as a whole is a great testament to artists, how generous they are with their time and skill and how much they can contribute to worthy causes.

All it costs each artist is their time in making the art and this then can have a great benefit to the lives of the children and families who are helped by the Jack and Jill Foundation.”

Incognito, supported by William Fry, runs at the Lavit Gallery, Cork from May 16-18 (preview, May 16, 10am-5pm, sale on May 17, 10am-7pm; May 18, 10am-4pm).


In 2017 and 2018, 1,100 artists donated 3,480 pieces of art to Incognito, raising €174,000, providing 10,875 hours of home care for sick children. Participating artists create a piece on a 150mm x 100mm postcard.

Some 1,800 postcard-size works of art will be exhibited at the Solomon Gallery in Dublin, and 800 or so exhibited at the Lavit Gallery in Cork. All pieces are exhibited anonymously, and sold for €50 each on a first-come, first-served basis at the participating gallery. The artists’ names will remain unknown until the card is purchased and the artist’s signature is revealed on the back.

The maximum number of pieces per person is three and you can pay with cash or card. For any artwork that remains unsold, there will be an opportunity to buy it online for a price of €50 or you can put a bid on it starting at €10. All details will be on the website the week after each sale.

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