Vicky Phelan Portrait to Raise Money for Heroes Aid Charity

Historic portrait of Ireland’s best known health campaigner Vicky Phelan is to be auctioned to raise money for the charity Heroes Aid which supports frontline healthcare workers

A unique portrait of Ireland’s best-known health campaigner, Vicky Phelan, is to go on sale to raise money for an Irish charity supporting frontline healthcare workers.

The non-profit, Heroes Aid, was set up in March last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic offering assistance to health workers on the frontline.

Ms Phelan, who was appointed to the board of Heroes Aid as a ‘patient advocate’ unveiled the painting for the first time tonight as part of her appearance on RTE’s ‘Late Late Show’.

The artwork by Tullamore artist Vincent Devine, which was commissioned by Heroes Aid, is a large rectangular triptych, featuring acrylic on canvass. In total the piece measures an impressive 4-foot-9 by 9-foot-8 and tells the story of Vicky Phelan’s life in three panels. The piece includes references to her Cancer diagnosis and her heroic advocacy on behalf of all the women caught up in Ireland’s cervical smear controversy.

The painting has been donated to Heroes Aid by the artist and all funds raised will go directly to the charity. The painting and artist can be seen on

Founder and executive member of Heroes Aid, Mary Leahy, says: We approached Vicky Phelan last year to be on the board of Heroes Aid as our ’patient advocate’. We had been incredibly impressed by her ability to give a voice to those who needed it most and knew she’d play a crucial role in helping our country’s vulnerable healthcare workers who have been placed under unrelenting pressure since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. It’s only fitting that she now has a portrait to tell her own story. We are touched by the generosity of the artist Vincent Devine who has donated the work to us and the money raised will be used to support our healthcare heroes.

The Portrait Explained:​

Straddling the boundaries of Realism, Surrealism and Expressionism, Devine has infused the portrait with a mysterious pulse that resonates beyond the canvas. Reading from left to right, Vicky Phelan’s narrative is conveyed as past, present and future acted out on Doonbeg beach in the west of Ireland. The left-hand panel is dominated by a powerful assemblage of flesh and bone whose forward motion is suddenly halted. The centre panel dominates. Here the sitter engages directly with the viewer. Events, both joyful and traumatic are rendered symbolically. Her outstretched right hand supports a bird, a young crimson rosella, representative of her daughter; on her left hand, her son as a sapling oak. Beneath her left foot, a colonnade represents a legal triumph while shamrocks close to her heart are emblematic of the continuous support she has received from the people of Ireland and beyond. Within her torso, invisible cancer is made visible.  Her eyes are bright with strength and hope.  In the right-hand panel a horse is looking backwards, a collage of powerfully charged symbols is placed between its hind legs and forelegs. A flickering candle reminds the viewer of the fragility of life itself. Indented into the sands beneath, Vicky Phelan’s footsteps then leave the canvas.



Auction Details:​

Already attracting worldwide attention, the ‘Triptych Portrait of Vicky Phelan’, goes under the hammer at Sheppards’ Irish Auction House at 2pm on Thursday February 4th 2021. The sale will be conducted live online at:

Bidders may participate by phone, online or via commission bid.

For more information go to or call Philip Sheppard on 086 876 5000.

All funds raised will go directly to Heroes Aid.

Artist Details:​

Beginning his painting practice in 2008, Vincent started to paint independently while studying for his Honours Degree in Graphic Design to explore a new way of painting. Subconscious undertones have always been prevalent in his work and he continues to defy categorisation as an artist of a certain genre due to his constant fluctuation into new and exciting styles in his painting practice. Vincent seeks to find answers to the subconscious undertones that have always informed his work yet eludes understanding on a conscious plane. His new work will be explored under the umbrella term “Neo-Dimensionism” and seeks to visually explain the inexplicable, paint the unpaintable. 

Learn more about the work of Artist Vincent Devine

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