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In Pictures: Laois Artists among big names taking part in online sale in aid of the Jack & Jill

Mary Slevin with various other entries

17 artists from Laois are among the many Irish and international artists taking part in an art sale for charity.

This year’s Incognito 2021 online art sale is in aid of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.

The Incognito art collection is now live on their website with the online art sale taking place on Thursday April 22 at 10am sharp.

According to organisers, what’s is unique about Incognito compared with any other art sale is that the identity of the artists behind the paintings – for sale at €60 each – is kept top secret until the sale has closed.

Among the Laois artists taking part are Claire Lee from Vicarstown, Mike Rafter and Catherine Brennan from Portlaoise and Mary Slevin from Portarlington.

Some of the famous national and international faces taking part this year are U2’s The Edge, rock star Bob Geldof, fashion designer Paul Costelloe, comedians Jason Byrne and Tommy Tiernan, artist Don Conroy and Nobel prize winner Dr William Campbell.

The Incognito collection is made up of 3,000-plus original postcard-sized artworks in a range of mediums, from oils and pastels, to glass and metalwork.

This is a sale that is usually a sprint to the checkout – as everything sold out last year in just 15 minutes.

In the five years since its inception, Incognito has raised almost €450,000 for Jack & Jill’s home nursing care for children with highly complex medical conditions, including end-of-life care.

This equates to more than 28,000 hours of specialist home nursing care provided by Jack & Jill nurses and carers the length and breadth of the country.

Curator Lucinda Hall says this is an opportunity to bring the talents of Laois artists to a brand-new audience.

She said: “We are so very grateful to each of our artists from Laois who have shared their talents with us and given their art for free.

“It is a huge tribute to their generosity of time and spirit following what has been an extremely difficult period for the arts world.

“We hope that by hosting what is Ireland’s largest online public art exhibition, that we can shine a light on the amazing talent of our artists, and introduce a whole new audience to their work.”

While Carmel Doyle, CEO of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, says Incognito 2021 is about generous, talented artists turning their art into a real currency for care.

She said: “Each year, Jack & Jill has to raise over €4 million to continue doing what we do supporting families to look after their sick children at home, where they belong.

“Less than 20 per cent of our funding comes from Government, and with COVID-19 continuing to restrict our public-facing fundraising and our charity shops still closed, including our shop in Portlaoise, we are relying hugely on the generosity and support of the public for Incognito 2021.

“Each piece sold translates into almost four hours of specialist home nursing care for local children, turning this beautiful art into a real currency for care.”

Fair play to all involved!

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.