OK, a bit of shameless namedropping. What does this columnist, The Edge and Bob Geldof have in common with Bruce Springsteen and Bono?

Apart from celebrating my birthday on the same day as The Boss, the first three have all made a contribution of original paintings each to this year’s Incognito fundraiser for the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation. Bono and Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen have done so in previous years.

The Edge is among the 1,200 artists who have created works for Incognito 2021.

How did I get myself among such exalted company? My great friend Lucinda Hall – the driving force behind this great initiative – was my inspiration, while the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation was set up by two more friends of mine, Jonathan Irwin and Mary Ann O’Brien.

This is the fifth year of Incognito, which to date has raised almost €450,000 for Jack & Jill’s home nursing care for very sick children. This equates to more than 28,000 hours of specialist home nursing care provided by the foundation’s nurses and carers, and this happens the length and breadth of the country.

For Carmel Doyle, CEO of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, Incognito has the benefit of helping families looking after their very sick children at home, while also showcasing the talents of some 1,200 artists this year. Each year the charity has to raise over €4m, and less than a fifth of that comes from the Government.

We are so very grateful to each of our artists who have shared their talents with us, and given their art for free

The pandemic has decimated the in-person fundraising that is a huge part of the foundation’s efforts each year, and so they are relying hugely on the generosity and support of the public for Incognito 2021. Each piece bought from Jack & Jill provides four hours of specialist home nursing for one of the 374 children they have under their watch

Lucinda Hall is so thankful for the support they received this year, and she has had enormous encouragement and practical help from her husband Robert.

She said: “We are so very grateful to each of our artists 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.

One of the more than 3,000 contributions to Incognito 2021.

“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.”

The beauty, and lottery, of Incognito is that you have no idea who the artist is when you buy your piece. You purchase something you love, and then could discover it was painted by renowned artist Robert Ballagh, Nobel Prize winner Dr William Campbell or comedian Tommy Tiernan.

Each original artwork costs just €60, with collectors’ items worth so much more. With last year’s sale selling out in minutes, art lovers are urged to be quick off the mark in 2021!

The collection features the work of artists, illustrators and designers from not only Ireland, but 13 other countries, including the US, South Africa and Australia.

There’s something to suit everyone’s taste with a broad range of mediums featured, from oils and pastels, to glass and metalwork.

The sale takes place on Thursday 22 April, but it is important to go online and register your intention to participate. You can also view all the pieces now, simply visit www.incognito.ie