Almost 150 works of art have been hung on the walls of Henchy’s pub in St Luke’s ahead of tonight’s opening of its eighth annual exhibition for Anita’s Orphanage.
The exhibition features leading Irish-based artists including Billy Griffin, Maurice Desmond, Tim Goulding, Cóilín Murray, Ricky Lynch, and Cora Murphy. It is the main fundraising event for Anita’s Orphanage, which is completely dependent on funds raised in Cork.
Spokesman Martin McHenry said the event has helped save 20 children who would otherwise have faced a brutal life on the streets of Cambodia. “It is thanks to the generosity of the people of Cork that this orphanage is still open. Without their help, this would not happen,” he said.
Mr McHenry was travelling in south-east Asia in 2005 when he met Momo Akbari, who had saved an orphan from the streets three years earlier, before dedicating his life to help others in Sihanoukville, a town in the south of Cambodia.
The orphanage was funded by Momo’s sister, Anita, but when her business collapsed, the funding dried up.
Mr McHenry returned to Ireland and, with his friend Maura Sheehan, vowed to fundraise continuously to keep the orphanage open.
Eight years later, Mr McHenry said it has transformed the lives of 20 children — two of whom recently got married and found work.
“Without education they have no hope. It costs about €20,000 a year to run this home and the art exhibition is the main part of our fundraising, so hopefully people will visit the bar and buy some art,” Mr McHenry said.
Work by almost 80 artists will be on exhibit in Henchy’s until Nov 2, with prices ranging from €100 to €16,00 for a two-piece painting by the late Kieran McGonnell.
The exhibition will close with Henchy’s famous, and keenly contested, stew competition, with funds going to the orphanage.