Sinéad O'Connor sells paintings for charity


Two paintings include one that featured on O'Connor's lastest album cover and a portrait of her as a child

The singer Sinéad O’Connor has donated two paintings from her collection, to be auctioned by Whyte’s for the Dublin charity, Penny Dinners.

O’Connor said she was motivated to make the gesture by reports of “1.8 million people living on the borderline” and of “families unable to feed their children”.

The paintings are estimated to have a combined worth of €22,000.

A large oil-on-canvas, measuring 1m x 1.5m, titled Upon Small Shoulders by Neil Condron was bought by O’Connor from the artist for €10,000. She used it on the cover of her ninth album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You) which was released earlier this year. According to a statement by the artist, the rusting scaffolding represents: “the remnants of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger boom” and the girl “represents the children of Ireland left vulnerable and destitute with a huge burden to carry forward as a result of greed and neglect” while the “the flag, our brightest colours, is Ireland, her legacy”. But the meaning of art is in the eye of the beholder.

Speaking to the Irish Times, O’Connor said she regarded the scaffolding as a “hopeful” image which suggested that people could “rebuild” Ireland just as they had done after the 1916 Rising “when there was rubble in the streets”.

Auctioneer Ian Whyte said the “provocative” painting had been assigned a pre-sale estimate of €10,000-€15,000.

The second painting, Portrait of Sinéad O’Connor, shows the singer aged eight in 1974 and is by artist Thomas Ryan, a former president of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

O’Connor said it was commissioned by her parents “at a time when it was fashionable for families to get portraits made of their children”.

Commenting on the picture, she said that her fringe was evidence that she has “always had dodgy haircuts”. The portrait, which has an estimate of €5,000-€7,000, is likely to be used for the cover of an autobiography which O’Connor has begun to write.

The entire proceeds from the sale of both paintings (including buyer’s premium) will go to the Penny Dinners, a Dublin charity providing for the needy since 1884, and still very much active and relevant today.

The charity, formally known as St Joseph’s Penny Dinners, is based in Cumberland St in the city centre.

The paintings will go on public view at the RDS, Dublin from 10am next Saturday for three days until the auction there on Monday, November 26th.