A SELECTION of the colourful Under stARTers Orders art collection, which went under the hammer at a charity auction at the Curragh Racecourse on Friday 28 June, has raised more than €100,000.
The unique public arts initiative consists of 21 life-sized resin horse sculptures that have been painted by top artists including Sarah Lennon, Tony O’Connor, Liza Kavanagh, and Eamon Colman.
While the artworks are on sale online at startersorders.ie, with bidding ongoing on many of the pieces, several were sold at a live auction at the Curragh during the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival. Famous attendees on Friday afternoon included Ruby Walsh, Pat Smullen, Tracy Piggott and U2’s The Edge – the musician has been very much involved in the project from the beginning having collaborated with artist Duda on ‘Sheba’, which sold for €15,500 to Martin Migoya.
“We will be sad to say goodbye to ‘Sheba’ today, but I’m delighted to know that this unique cross between an Arabian horse and a zebra will be going to such a good home,” The Edge remarked at the event, adding that he enjoyed collaborating with the artist.
Other top lots on the day included Sally “Fire in her Belly” (which features a bespoke whiskey bar inside and sold for €20,000) by Liam O’Neill, who said that he couldn’t be happier to have seen such interest in the piece. The Irish Derby sponsors, Dubai Duty Free, generously purchased two lots at the auction – ‘Misneach’ by Sara Hodson for €13,500 and ‘Geronimo’ by Eamon Colman for €9,000.
The Edge also purchased an additional wildcard lot, a whitewashed horse figure for the winning bidder to design as they please, which added €19,000 to the sum of funds raised.
The project is designed to help raise funds for the work of two charities local to Kildare. Irish Injured Jockeys was set up in 2014 to raise awareness and funds in support of injured jockeys and aims to provide long-term care and guidance – not just when they suffer injury through riding but when help is required in their secondary careers and their lives after racing.
Sensational Kids, meanwhile, provides affordable and accessible early intervention services for the one in four children in Ireland with special educational needs, including autism, Down syndrome and dyslexia. Funds will be split equally between the charities and, to-date, just over €180,000 has been raised.
Ruby Walsh, Chair of Irish Injured Jockeys, described the day as a “remarkable occasion”. “Not only has it increased the total funds raised by the project to €180,715,” he said, “but it has also thrown the project into the spotlight and we still have a number of these incredible works of art for sale online at startersorders.ie for anyone at home or abroad who is interested in acquiring one.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Karen Leigh, CEO of Sensational Kids. “This will go a long way to help many children and jockeys,” she remarked. “We have recently introduced hippotherapy services and the results have been phenomenal. I guess having this event here at our home track The Curragh Racecourse, together with Irish Injured Jockeys and with the horse sculptures at the heart of the project, it has been a really good fit all round. We are most grateful to all those who have supported this initiative.”